My daughter shows me a video of fans cheering, almost in tears, because their favorite character -an ugly skeleton, made it to Smash Bros Ultimate. I never understood how it is possible that one of my daughter’s tweets, showing these simplistic beings/things, can ignite thousands of shares on Twitter while I can barely get someone to follow me on social media. She belongs to a very supportive online community that is obsessed with games and shows like “Undertale”, “BFDI (Battle for Dream Island), and “Open Source Objects” (OSO).

For decades, the marketing industry has battled to make consumers join communities and support brands. Brand communities started focusing on face-to-face events, and later merged into social media communities that participate in online events.

Online Vs. Face-to-Face Brand Communities

Traditionally, brands like Harley Davidson were part of a reduced group which successfully made fans, mostly 40+ y/o, meet for rides. In a younger audience, Vespa is also influencing fans through one of the most successful social marketing campaigns: The cross-country Vespa rally.

Vespa Fans

Jared Degnan and his agency team won the IAVA Communicator Award / Marketing Effectiveness for their Vespa campaign.

Degnan started the campaign investigating what differentiates Vespa fans from other scooter brands. He realized that Vespa owners have strong pride of ownership and like to share it on social media, so he activated a community around the Vespa message. The purpose was to make adventurous young audiences share their trips around the world. Millions have followed the trend and shared their videos and photos, generating higher awareness and sales for Vespa.

Kids and Teen Fandoms

But, my initial question was, what is turning kids and teens into such a supportive fandom? The answer may be that the best marketing strategy is the one that can make fans really get addicted to a brand, chat, meet, and share meaning.

Battle for Dream Island series is a YouTube show transmitted by jacknjellify, account owned by brothers Michael and Cary Huang. The young brothers have 825k subscribers, and their videos reach millions of views. The BFDI fandom is one of the most interactive on Twitter, and uses to engage in meetups.

Interaction Is the Key

Open Source Objects sets apart from other shows. It’s an ongoing animated YouTube series in which each fan can contribute to its production by joining Discord as a drawer, voice-over, writer, animator, story-boarder, or audio engineer. The show has a crew of more than 800 fans.

The videogame fandom phenomenon stretches engagement among audiences between 8 to 25 y/o. Marketers have discovered that chats and check-in options rocket exposure for meetings and rallies. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook’s convening power are even more augmented thanks to mobile apps. That is why campaigns are allocating every day more marketing dollars to generate social media fandoms and meetings.

If you can involve fans in your advertising efforts, just like Nintendo and Vespa do it, the result will be stronger engagement and word of mouth.

Fandom.com cites fan Cheeseskates, from the Undertale Wikia community: “Games don’t need looks and technical marvel to be good. It needs… to bring us closer together as humanity, to share our feelings… to make people happy.”

Did you like this article? Please share with me any experience in this matter. I’m here to listen.

Ivanna Planet - 45 posts

Ivanna is a marketing specialist whose passion is traveling to exotic destinations. As a journalist in Latin America, she has reported news on business and politics.

Social Media Marketing