If you quit social media tomorrow – would anyone notice?
We have all bought into the hype (thanks Instagram, Facebook etc.) that “Followers” are “Fans” – these platforms make us believe that lots of engagement and followers are a sign of appreciation and popularity…. But it really isn’t..
The old “follow, unfollow” trick can gain you 1000’s of followers in a few weeks, but these are not Fans.. just bluntly they are mutually beneficial relationships.. These are not the people who will buy your music, tune into your live streams or queue to see you perform.
We all know you can buy followers, likes and comments, and its not uncommon, but at what real cost? Yes it may gain you more followers as we by our very nature are sheep.. but again, these are not fans. How can you REALLY measure your traction if most of your audience is created on a server farm by a computer?
In 2008, Kevin Kelly wrote an influential blog post, 1,000 True Fans. He argued, “Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans.”
These are the people who will share your work, buy your back catalogue, talk about you to friends, family and colleagues. Drive 100 miles to see you sing, order your merch, pre-order your next release, and be an all round cheerleader for you and your work.
Fan, by its very definition, is someone who admires and supports someone….YOU! You cannot count them by likes and follows. You count them by their loyalty, commitment and unwavering support. How do I get these fans you may ask? Its hard work, but anything worth having usually is! And in this digital age the competition out there is more fierce than ever, but the main points are :
- Consistently releasing awesome music and videos – this is called acquisition content and is what will attract fans in the first place.
- Cultivating them by actively engaging; responding to comments, replying to messages, asking for opinions and in so doing, directly involving them in your creative process. Known as nurturing content – this approach will turn them from followers to fans.
- Provide an interesting, relevant and unique content mix on your platforms to keep things engaging; again nurturing content.
Fans are what makes an Artist. And a true Artist appreciates their Fans – they are imperative to their success. Look at the “Little Monsters”, “Beliebers” & “Swifties” these are the Fans behind some of the most successful Artists of our time – their unwavering support and adoration you can see means the world to them.
At the end of the day it’s all about priorities – fans or followers? Yes followers may look nice on your profile, but that’s all they are – numbers… Fans are the ones who will support you, financially, mentally and creatively.