How to turn fans into engaged fanatics


Having a team of fanatical fans can be a powerful marketing tool. Think of Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters and the shrieking bunch of Beliebers. How do you turn your fans into superfans? Those followers who feel personally connected to your music and your brand, the ones who form a tribe devoted to you and your music.

Not all fans are made equal. There are the regular the fans, those people who enjoy your music, attend a concert when it’s in the area and perhaps talk about your music to their friends. Then, there are the fanatics. These are the people who follow artists relentlessly, purchase every single song they produce, attend every show they can get themselves to and buy all the posters and merchandise they can.

As a guest editor on Indie Music, Billy Bones, music marketing expert who runs BBE Booking Agency, gives his advice on how to build up a base of these devoted fanatics in the Power of the Tribe: 3 Tips for turning Fans into Fanatics. He says these fans “collectively take the leap from liking music to defining themselves by their relationship to the music. It’s the difference between ‘I listen to this’ and ‘I AM this’”.

1. Build on that spark
Some people in the music industry say you should actively try and build a clan of obsessed fans. Bones says that this is true, but only to a certain extent. He says the level of mania and hype seen in superfan groups can only form naturally, almost spontaneously. “There’s a certain indescribable something that turns fans into a tribe, a spark that simply can’t be forced or faked. That magic has to be there on its own. But as the artist who your tribe is built around, you have to see when that moment happens in order to capitalize on it.”

Take a look at your true fans; figure out what it is that makes these people more than just regular fans, then build on that.

2. Provide a base
The first place that these fans will always go is your live shows, but this shouldn’t be the only place. An online community for your superfans is important in maintaining and growing your tribe. A place where your fans can connect with each other as well as gain access to more of your music, news and content. An example of this is the LittleMonsters site, the place where Lady Gaga’s fanatics congregate. The pop artist and/or her team post to the site, engaging with the fans and building the phenomenon that is her tribe of little monsters.

3. Be authentic
“Tribes are built on authenticity,” says Bones, realize what your message is and hold on to it. When you believe in what you’re doing and do what you love, it resonates with those true fans and allows them identity and relate to your music. “When you attach meaning to what you do you’re giving your fan base something to attach to that is transcendent of music.”

In Lady Gaga’s Super Deluxe version of her The Fame Monster album, she wrote a ‘Manifesto of Little Monsters’. In it she wrote what she believed in: originality, tolerance, and positivity.

She spoke to anyone who had suffered from being different; spreading her message that it is these differences that make you special and unique, and it’s this kind of dedication and affection that has taken her followers from the realm of fans to fanatics.

4. It’s a two-way conversation
On a panel at last years Scion Music(less) Music Conference, Eliot Van Buskirk held a talk on ‘What Music Startups Are Offering’, in which David Portor, founder of 8tracks, says, “Make sure you have easy ways for a would-be fan to follow you. On Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud. Keep that dialogue with your fans going, that would seem to maximize on the opportunity.”

Mathew Ogle, founder of This Is My Jam, talks about the significance of fan armies, and what they could become in the future. He says that those platforms and services that introduce music to the public have the responsibility to connect fan with artist. “There is more of an opportunity now than ever to form these direct artist fan connections.”

Elliot Van Buskirk defines superfans as “people who are deeply invested on an identity level with your band.” Building a true fanatical fan base takes time; you need to refine your story and express it not only through music, but also through online platforms, allowing fans to form a meaningful connection with your music and your message. Make music you love, and discover what it is that your fans identify with, and then nurture that.

Written by: Justine Healey
Original source: JustGo



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