4 Things Star Wars Taught Us About Social Media

1.”Do, or do not. There is no try.” Need to connect with customers? Need to get an X-Wing out of a swamp? Either way, go ahead. Do it. Don’t try to do it and don’t do it passively or without a plan. Social media is an ongoing campaign. You can’t afford to think of social media as an ad you buy. It is an ongoing conversation not something you turn on and off. Many have tried to use social media and declared it a failure. Often people give up in the early stages if they feel results aren’t coming in. You can’t dip your toe into social media. Social media is an ongoing commitment (just as your phone number and address are) but it takes time and nurturing. Set goals and create a plan. Begin then can you.

2. Find someone who speaks the language. Is there anyone at your company who is fluent in over 6 Million forms of communication? No? Thats ok. Do you have someone who is fluent in social media? No? Then don’t get involved…yet. You may have someone who is great at other things and who is willing to learn. You can’t fly around the galaxy without someone who speaks the language right? training someone in social media is quite doable and valuable on multiple levels; we do it often. First of all, it is easier to train someone in social media than it is to train a social media person about your brand. Your staff has history with you and they understand your customers. You have to know how they want to interact before developing strategies and tactics.  Secondly, showing interest in staff development is a proven way to increase productivity, culture and employee retention.

3. Cute but dangerous. The natives may look cute but they will defend their homes to the last breath. Lets look at two battles in the Star Wars universe. In The Empire Strikes Back, the battle on Hoth involved the empire storming the snowy rebel base with robotic elephants. The Rebels fought hard and even managed to take down a few At-Ats but eventually retreated off the entire planet. Lets compare this with the battle on Endor. Ewoks, the short, furry natives were fighting similar technology with logs, vines and spears. They eventually gained the upper hand by turning the empire’s weapons against them and forcing a surrender. The natives deserve respect. You may be able to build a shield on their planet but once you start attacking, they will destroy you.

What does this mean online? There are rules of engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others that dictate how you post but the unwritten rules about what to post are most important. A community message board or group of bloggers can do as much damage to your brand as good. How you interact with them makes all the difference. Here is a perfect meta-example. In 2004 a few players of the online game Star Wars Galaxies had found a way to exploit a bug and flood the economy with fake items and currency. Sony (the game publisher) started banning all players with hacked items in their inventory (even second-hand owners who were unaware of issue). Gamers decided to stage a protest in the game. Enough players gathered at the same place that the Sony servers were affected and eventually taken offline. Darth BuddhaSony gave in shortly after.

4. “I feel the good in you.” Most brands have good intentions even when things go awry. There are many social media fails on record and have seen that it doesn’t take much to cause a stir. You can’t please everyone all the time and there are probably people who will never be your customer. Even as the face of evil, Darth Vader had some good in him. Luke could feel it but more importantly he was open to the possibility of that good existing at all. Your best hope (a new hope?) online is to be honest, helpful, interactive, engaging and humble. Show off the good in you and maybe one day you can kiss your sister.