Ok, so you’re a fan, but are you a citizen?
This is the question asked by the Phoenix Suns NBA team, who are doing some intersting things to build a tribe through social media. The question is on a banner that advertises PlanetOrange.net, “a social network built just for real fans” (their emphasis).
Planet Orange includes a live twitter stream from 25 Suns staff, including the mascot (“who can’t speak but can type”) and Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq is regularly interacting with fans through twitter. So much so, that the Suns threw him a virtual birthday party where fans were encouraged to create a happy birthday video and send the link to him via twitter.
Back at Planet Orange, fans are encouraged to register as citizens, create blogs, join groups and share audio, video and photos. These include Fan Art – mashups of photos and drawing that other fans can share and use. And if all this isn’t enough engagement for the real fans, the Suns also have a Facebook fan site where citizens can share more comments and media with over 46,000 other facebook citizens.
At the centre of the Suns social media campaign is Amy Martin, aka PhoenixSunsGirl, seen here being interviewed on the Suns own TV channel.
While it’s easier to think of sports teams than businesses having fans, this level of customer engagement (Shaq has over 1.5m followers on Twitter) must have some insights for organisations in other industries. What type of content would an airline or retail store need to share, in order to get real customers wanting to sign up and become flag-bearing citizens of their brand?