The Social Media Force: Lessons From the Online Jedi Master – Star Wars

Published by Engagement Labs on January 18, 2016

The Force was strong with this blockbuster. Earning almost 2 billion dollars internationally and counting, the latest Star Wars film is poised to be the highest-grossing film in this galaxy and beyond, even after only one month in theaters.

Since the announcement of the franchise’s revival, the online world has been set ablaze in anticipation of the latest film and has continued to rule the social world beyond its release date.

Based on all the chatter, Engagement Labs investigated the film’s social media strategy to see how the film channeled the hype surrounding its release to reach Jedi Master-level of success on social media.

Read below to see some trends from the social media channels of the biggest film of all time:

New Generation Meet the Old Generation

While some audiences of Episode VII may be new to the franchise, there are already many existing fans flocking to theatres to catch the blockbuster. With the original Star Wars movie released in 1977 and the prequel series launched in 1999, the Star Wars series has brought together several generations.

With such a long history and loyal fanbase spanning decades, the film’s social media channels knew to attach themselves to the nostalgia of the series by posting content related to past films, all while relating it to more recent times.

For instance, one of the film’s most engaged posts on Facebook, generating up to 250,200 likes and 34,600 shares, was a #ThrowbackThursday that showcased the original Star Wars cast accompanied with the term “squad goals”. Integrating present-day slang and social media trends with promotional material from the past connects both the older fans of the franchise with the younger generation of fans.

The film frequently leveraged the popular hashtag #ThrowbackThursday in its posts on Instagram showcasing some of the best moments from the previous films. Taking advantage of this new social media trend, the film used the visual platform to draw in older and younger fans alike via the hashtag.

The Force is With You

Knowing so many fans were agonizingly waiting to purchase their tickets, the franchise made sure it got a head start on breaking those box office records by using their social channels to encourage their fans to purchase tickets early.

Providing links to websites from which fans could buy their advanced tickets online, the film’s social media marketing team ensured that fans always had links readily available to purchase tickets.

The film’s most engaged post on both Facebook and Twitter during 2015, was announcing that tickets were finally on sale. The simple act of providing the link for users to purchase their tickets ahead of time translated into thousands of likes and comments and, based on the box office records, excellent sales for the film.

“Patience You Must Have, My Young Padawan”

When you have audiences salivating for more, teasers are your social media channels’ best friend. Loyal fan bases thrive on receiving even the smallest bit of information – especially if the hints are spread out over a long period of time.

Star Wars used this tactic phenomenally during the year, posting promotional material occasionally during 2015. Whether it was the official poster, a video from Comic-Con or the trailer, the film’s social channels made sure to post each new promotional collateral helping to generate up to 30,500 likes and 32,800 retweets on Twitter.

The film also made sure to use their channels to countdown to the big release date, by posting promotional images of the film across their channels accompanied with the number of days until the release date.

Counting down to the release date resulted in some of the highest engagement on Facebook, with up to 141,200 likes and 105,600 shares, as fans were itching to show their excitement for the film and connect with the community of fellow fans.

Welcome to Our Galaxy

While Star Wars may take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, fans on planet Earth were granted entrance into the franchise’s expansive universe through frequent behind-the-scenes content posted on the film’s social channels.

Hashtagging #BehindTheScenes on Instagram, the film posted numerous sneak peeks of sets being built, costumes being finalized and the cast at work from recent and past films in the franchise. Sneaking a peek into the film-making process resulted in increased anticipation as indicated by the thousands of likes and comments generated by the posts.

The film continued to ramp up the hype around the film by posting frequently from world premiere red carpets. Highlighting the cast’s appearances at red carpet events and showcasing their interaction with fans, the film’s social channels served as a portal for fans to feel included in all the thrilling festivities leading up to the film’s release.

Welcoming fans into their universe, only helped to build a better connection with the already loyal fanbase, thereby ensuring fans were itching to be a part of the action come release date.

Yoda’s Final Words

As a small, green Jedi Master once said “Always pass on what you have learned.” With the unbelievable success of the latest Star Wars film, brands can take away much from the social media strategy of the film even if their reach isn’t as tremendous.

The film has achieved unprecedented success at the box office, much of which has been grown out of their successful online campaigns. So young Padawan, look to the Star Wars’ social media channels and take what you will, but remember “Do or do not. There is no try.”

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About eValue™:

The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of submetrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 100,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

Engagement: Measures the level of interaction generated by your content and how well your community reacts to it.

Impact: Measures how many unique users have potentially been exposed to a piece of content posted by the channel’s admin through organic, viral and paid reach.

Responsiveness: Measures the rate, speed and quality of your responses to fans.