One of the very first posts to this blog was about the importance of musicians building their core audience, or their Super-Fan listener base. That was in the fall of 2014. Here we are in the first quarter of 2015 and that subject is now taking a much larger role across many of the marketing and coaching experts’ platforms.
Do you know why?
You’re going to be hearing the term Super-Fan a lot in the coming years. I predict that the change in how businesses (large and small) market themselves is going to radically shift this year, leading everyone else to have to follow suit. The change is simple, and it’s been on the cusp of breaking out for quite a while.
It’s no longer a matter of growing a fan base that consists of merely a number anymore that makes a difference, or that leads to the success needed to keep the wheels turning on your career. This is true for completely unknown musicians as well as those on indie labels, the DIY artist, and even the big-named maintstream powerhouse. Yes, even Beyonce and Taylor Swift will be changing the way they market their music in the coming years because numbers by themselves mean very little.
Facebook and Twitter made everyone a celebrity, or at least made it possible for everyone to be known by everyone else. In some cases, this led to better connections and relationships between people across the globe. But it also created avenues by which people worked to cheat the system, creating “followers” of brands that weren’t legitimate or at least not really engaged. Some social media marketers sell 5,000-10,000 fans to unsuspecting individuals to give the impression that the business, brand, or person has a large following. But bots don’t buy, and buying followers does little to create any form of success worth bragging about.
This leads us to the shift that is taking place now, and will continue in the coming year. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if your Twitter profile is “followed” by 50,000 accounts (I say accounts because many of the followers on any profile are not actual people, regardless of how the follow happens). Followers can lead to business, can lead to buys, and can lead to the kind of success you want with your career. But relationships with followers that are cultivated through effective communication and reciprocated benefits leads to ongoing positive results for everyone.
This is where the Super-Fan group comes in. Your core audience are drawn to you for very specific reasons. They are passionate about you and what you do. That passion leads to a monetary exchange between them and you, through concerts/gigs, hard copy/digital copy music, merchandise, etc. These are the key people that create the ongoing success you are looking for.
Which is why I’m seeing more and more marketers, coaches, and music experts changing their messaging to center on the growth of Super-Fans than I ever have before.
Think about it, we have a limited amount of time each day, a limited quantity of resources to tap into for our entertainment, and a limitless, endless volume of choices at our disposal. Endless selection will mean for some people that they never settle on really taking in the products of the people who are making the creation. They’ll just stream here and there, listen here and there, and never leave their house, or buy anything you make. But others, the core Super-Fan, is a different person who operates and thinks about what they take in for their music enjoyment completely different.
These are the people you need to focus on.
Soon you’ll hear more people talking about growing your Super-Fan reach. It will become a trend, like the platform building model of the past year. But before the trend begins and long after it’s over it will still continue to be the way to grow and prosper.
Like I said, there are several coaches, marketers, and teachers who are promoting this line of thinking. My advice is to pick a few of these people and see what they have to say. See if their insights, advice, and wisdom leads to growth for you. I’m going to do the same thing. No one person is an “expert” on everything, and as long as you’re breathing you still have something left to learn. Here are a few of the music and marketing coaches and teachers I’m keying in on:
Michael Hyatt-Marketing and platform building coach; author of Platform: Get Discovered In A Noisy World
Chandler Coyle: Music coach, teacher, and author of the Coyle Report
Dave Kusek– Berklee College of Music Online Founder and founder of The New Artist Model
Andrea Young-Music curator and founder of Aspenbeat Radio Show and Record Label