Building community is the best rewarding way to build an engaged fanbase. Amanda Palmer's crowdfunding efforts earned her $2.8 million from her community of supportive fans. Ariel Hyatt of CyberPR explores the three communities that make up every fan base and how to engage each.
By Ariel Hyatt of CyberPR (Hypebot will publish Parts 2 and 43 later this week.)
Every Artist Has Three Communities – they are separate from one another.
The problem is most artists have only one strategy for marketing and promoting to three totally separate groups.
The online space has helped to create a problem that many artists are unaware of – that problem is: the billions of people. We all know the stats – 2 billion people on Facebook, 800 million on Instagram, 330 million on Twitter, 140 million Spotify users, and it goes on and on.
In the desperate desire to try to connect with as many fans as possible artists are forgetting something: not everyone “out there” is the same.
Some may be following you simply because they liked your sunglasses or your cat and have no idea you are even a musician, while others are waiting to like and comment on every post.
You need to understand the differences and create a separate way of communicating with each community.
Your 3 Communities Are:
Community #1: Your Super Fans
These are fans who are primarily Your Live Audience. You know them by name. If you play out live, they attend your shows regularly and buy many things you offer (not just music). If you have a street team they are on it and they evangelize strongly on your behalf. They are the first responders when you post on your socials and they are following you on multiple channels.
Community #2: Engaged Fans
These fans are your Active Online Audience. They are newsletter subscribers, blog readers, video watchers, RSS subscribers, active Social Media engagers who frequently comment & engage with you on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Community #3: Ambient Fans
These fans are your Passive Online Audience and they are your social media friends who are aware of you via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. but don’t actively communicate with you and may not have ever even heard your music (yet).
The way you maintain your relationship with each of these communities requires a different strategy because you have varying degrees of engagement with each of them.
The way you create and develop your relationship with them should also take some careful consideration. Yes, there will be overlap between them but not as much as you may think.
Community #1 – Your Super Fans
Your Most Engaged Social Followers
These are the ones who are fastest to like and comment when you post something new. This group probably includes your mom and your bestie and that’s a great start. The key is when people who you know in passing or don’t know at all start to comment make sure you respond in kind, This means check in on them and nurture these types of engagements. This si how you create Super Fans.
Your Crowdfunding Backers Who Pledge Over $25
If you have ever run a crowdfunding, Pledge Pre-sale or a Patreon campaign then your REALLY know exactly who these superfans are. Better yet, you know their names, email addresses and how much money and support they are willing to give you. This is one of the main reasons I advocate for crowdfunding and I think every artist should execute a crowdfunding campaign. I have written a book called CROWDSTART all about how to succeed with crowdfunding and you can download chapter one right here.
Your Live Audience
Your live audience if you play out and your “real” friends who support you should also be included in this group. They will most likely be the first engaged community you have and the first one you started building for obvious reasons.
Before social media was around this was the only community that indie artists really had. So much has changed. Back then, you fostered relationships with Community 1 by playing live often and you captivated them in person.
You didn’t need to grab them within the first 3.5 seconds online because they most likely stuck around for at least 2-3 songs. You didn’t have to worry about a signature story or a pitch to describe what you sounded like – you were up on stage for them to see.
And you didn’t have to worry about the load time on your website, and your social media chops.
If you could rope them in by playing a compelling live show, you were on your way to having a true fan base of engaged fans.
How to Engage Community #1 Super Fans
It always comes up when you ask the experts – it’s the foundation. Always be honing your craft.
Have a Long-Term Social Media Strategy
When you do this you will be as Seth Godin says “remarkable” and the word will spread.
Factors to consider:
|Connection to the audience||Solid songwriting|
|A fantastic live show||Great music|
|The audience experience||Word of mouth|
Seth Godin refers to this combination of factors as being remarkable.
The most applicable morsel is:
“Remarkable doesn’t mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me.
Am I going to make a remark about it?
If not, then you’re average, and average is for losers.” – Seth Godin
If your live audience is not building consistently, one of these elements may be missing and your live show may need work. If people don’t spread the word for you, your audience will not build and you should go back to the drawing board to work on your songs, and improve your show, as it all starts there.
Create a Riveting Live Show
The most extraordinary live music coach I’ve ever witnessed is Tom Jackson. He runs a company called On Stage Success and works on developing live shows using a series of effective techniques to both create a cohesive show and a connection with your live audience.
Tom rightly points out that your songs don’t all sound the same, but in most cases when you perform, they all look the same when played live. Toms DVDs, blog, and workshops will help you work on your band dynamics and stage presence. I have seen him work miracles with bands. In just a few hours, he completely transforms shows that are hum- drum into riveting stage performances.
Tom is unlike any coach out there and what he teaches needs to be seen to be fully understood.
Capture Your Super Fan’s Data:
Once the live audience is at your gig, you ask them for their e-mail addresses for your newsletter or for their mobile numbers for your text messaging list, and you employ consistent techniques to communicate with them.
Add Social Media columns so they can write their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram handles – then take the time to connect with them after the show!
If you have not made a concerted effort to connect the dots between your live audience and your email list you are sacrificing a direct line to money.
So, sign up for a newsletter management system to help get you on the way.