Social media and the Internet has made analyzing and engaging with fans an easier task but still the question on many minds is: “How can we engage our fans but also make money off of it?”
Well, the fact of the matter is that you are not going to be seeing direct results come from simple fan engagement techniques, not even the more complex ones, in fact. Something that has to be understood is that monetization is not a direct factor but comes indirectly through the sales made after such simple or complex efforts. And additionally, the more creative you get with your fans, the more this indirect monetization can be seen.
You need to be looking at who are you reaching, who’s actually listening, where are they, what’re they into? Knowing your audience is the best way to profit from your efforts. And in addition to this belief, getting absolutely up-close and personal with them is even more beneficial.
Start a Conversation
Let’s look at an example, in 2014 DJ superstar, Nicky Romero, went ahead and created his own campaign for his fans to vote for him in the DJ Mag Top 100. Him and his team created a website where if you entered in your number – the perfect opportunity to log and analyze a database of where all your fans come from – the DJ would call you (a pre-recorded voice message, of course) and ask for your vote in the poll. You could even see a video of him on the website, flipping through a magazine or chilling in his studio and once you entered in your phone number you would see him pick up the phone to call you.
Can’t lie, it was one of the coolest forms of fan engagement that I’d ever seen, especially in promotion for the DJ Mag Top 100 because it snowballed more DJs to do the same sort of thing to get to their fans personally. It was the ultimate personal touch and actually worked in his favor because it placed him in the number 8 spot out of 100 DJs all over the world. It’s not a secret that when you receive such a high ranking like this that your booking fees will rise as well as your reputation. You get booked for the bigger shows and your fan base grows immensely just by looking at the rankings.
Now, Nicky Romero and his team did not directly make any money off calling fans. In fact, he probably spent a lot money creating the website, shooting the videos, recording the phone call, making sure the phone call is identified by caller ID as “Nicky Romero” when he calls etc. etc. The list can go on and on behind what a production like this takes and how much it will cost but the fact of the matter is: in the end, it worked. An engagement ploy like this really shows how important it is to build your artist’s profile. Nicky’s ranking stayed in the Top 10 best DJs in the world and booking fees for anyone in this category can be as high as $200-400k. Even after all the fixed and variable costs that go into being a DJ and having a team, that’s quite some money, right?
So, how can you do it? Simple: get creative.
Up Close and Personal
Fans love to see something different and as someone who is a fan herself, I think I can speak for all of us when I say: stop with the newsletters. Stop with so many words because the fact of the matter is that people these days do not want to just read about their favorite artists. They want to hear and see it from the horse’s mouth or they want to be involved in their lives in someway to feel a part of something.
For example, if we look at more examples from DJs engaging with their fans, Oliver Heldens showed that he wanted to get to know them on a personal level by logging on to the webcam chatting website, Omegle, and making it easy for his fans to find him. It’s such a simple task that can be done if you’ve got any spare time but it’s one of the best ways to connect and break that fourth wall.
Your fans want to be heard, to be noticed, to feel like they are a part of your life as much as you are a part of theirs. Another example is the eyeglass manufacturer Warby Parker which, every month, will showcase their favorite photos of customers wearing their glasses on their Instagram account. It gives people incentive to not only buy the product but to show it off and in return leading others to make a sale because word of mouth and friend recommendations are one of the most important and effective sales techniques.
What Do They Want
As I’ve aforementioned, it’s so important to look at your fan base and to understand who it is that your brand is attracting. When analyzing younger target groups it can be seen that engaging through email is not their preferred media to be contacted through. Newsletters are being widely used and at one point did have some actual effect on sales but not so much anymore, especially when your brand is more light and young.
To replace the typical newsletter, that we all know wasn’t written by the artist/celebrity/brand’s CEO etc., is where social media comes into play. Social media has taken over the world of fan engagement and has shown just how interested people are in being spoken to directly.
Marquee from Music Clout.com got it right when they wrote: “…artists who offer exclusive content…and create highly interactive experiences encourage fans to become highly invested in you as an artist. The relationship is personal, candid, and super effective.”
A prime example of this is Snapchat and Twitter where you can see the person behind just a pretty face. Like Snapchat’s most followed celebrity, Kylie Jenner, has capitalized greatly from allowing her fans to see what her life is like and in between it all showcasing her products and brands that she likes/endorses. This works out greatly in her favor because fans feel like she is speaking to them personally, as if there is a conversation bringing the parasocial relationship to another level.
Kenneth Corsten spoke about the importance for interaction with fans in the sports world but it applies everywhere else, like to artists and brands, as well because when you build monetizing relationships that succeed you get your fans to, in his words, “devote their time, money and passion to the consumption of its products, services, and experiences.” From this you are able to profit from the close engagement you keep with your fans.
Life would be so easy if you could monitor and analyze how well your efforts are doing by looking at how many people clicked a link and bought what you are selling but that’s not the only way. Through Fangage you’re able to have a complete run-through on what’s working, what people like, who is your audience, how can you make more money through engagements and in an easier/faster sense.