1,000 True Fans – The Gateway to Your Business Success
In recent times, either as artiste in music, theatre or the performing arts; either you stand as an individual entity or a corporate body, the number of fans following you on your social media handles is a yardstick for measuring your popularity among your audience, your adversaries, or the venture capitalist underscoring your performance with a view to invest their money if you are truly worthwhile. Ask Whizkid or Tiwa Savage, or Omotola; they can testify to this fact.
But they, as others, also started from scratch; building their fan base to the tune of millions. To achieve stardom, getting 1,000 true fans is the first step. Leveraging on this, any serious artiste can grow to stardom.
These first 1,000 can be split into two main categories, the ‘fan’ and the ‘ordinary buyer.’ Holistically, the generation of buyers today actually look through some measurements: who has bought these products, who has liked your product, as we see in social media marketing, etc. This is a whole broad spectrum of different colours. The Social media of today helps people make informative decisions.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Nibble, Yahoo, YouTube, just to mention, have made the 1,000 true fans business model a guaranteed platform for survival or true fame. To this end, the drive for fans has have opened new vistas for social media and internet marketing firms to prosper, looking for, or buying ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ for their artiste client. In the social media age, success is easily defined by how many of these an artiste can boast of among peers or for brand managers to use as a yardstick for determining if such an act is worth investing in.
The social media platforms mentioned above have given room to a better world for market impact and penetration, the idea of Pages, Groups, Subscription, Profiles and the sheer thought of being on these platforms are major decision-making elements for music/movie promoters, venture capitalist, brand managers, etc. A million fans on Facebook, a million views of your video on YouTube, or a million followers on Twitter is almost a guarantee that you’ll get a call for branding soon.
Be that as it may, fan base can be a projection for how many of the products can be sold, either tangible or intangible; that s how the corporate world thinks when considering these acts. They figure: fans are always waiting to see news making headlines concerning the artiste, they are waiting for the next big announcement or even social gossip, and as such can be a huge market to tap into.
The true fan worships his/her hero/heroine, these are not just people liking or following the page as seen on Facebook and Twitter respectively, they are the ones willing to pay for whatever product is associated with their ‘god’, whatever brand products they advertise. The ones willing to travel many kilometres just to watch the unveiling of a new music album, or attend an award ceremony no matter the cost, these lot are seen as the 1,000 True Fans.
1,000 True Fans as a Model that rakes in money
With a good product, using music as an example, it is important to underscore the fact that the true fan will pay whatever price is determined by the producer for such a product. It goes beyond just clicking a button to signify ‘I Like your Music,’ it reaches as far as ‘I am willing to pay for your music.’ This is true for upcoming artiste too. If one true fan decide to pay 500 Naira for a Piece of good music, it’s a pointer that 10,000 true fans can actually pay the same amount for that same piece of music, or better still, pay more. It’s a financial model that breaks the artist from poverty of some sort to limelight. Indeed, just a few fans made the biggest Nigerian acts we so much adore today. TuFace, P-Square, and their likes started with a few loyal fans, today, they are mega millionaires.
A lean Start-up would engage their prospective market saying, “buy our products, and we will deliver more giving a specified time frame.” However, there is a build up to these revelations which will definitely include the production of samples, depending on the area of expertise of such a Start-up. Feedbacks are given from such ventures, and a true fan would simply just open up and say “I like your product and I am willing to pay.”
On the other hand, a straightforward fan would say “kindly fix this part and add that part, it will make the product better and I would not mind paying for it.” Start-ups have had such encounters and it has made their businesses grow from conceptualization of the idea to actualization. The 1,000 true fan base does not actually mean 1,000 fans following you or liking your page, they are those who will support a dream, give to a social cause, as seen in politics; or just someone who believes in an idea and thinks his/her support would go a long way in making the world better.
Crowd funding is one initiative that has had millions of people contribute to social causes. Examples are the Red Cross, UNICEF, political campaigns, etc. The 1,000 true fans strategy is an established financial Model to grow a Business.
The Price Quotient
Parting with money is not stupidity; as humans, we are wired to see things grow, an idea, a personality or anything that carries a true meaning to our existence. The price for music, the price for an art work; what should be the fair price for a product? These are conclusions on the minds of a potential buyers. Is it expensive? Is it too cheap? The issue of class: the rich, the average or poor (in relative terms).
The price is a determining factor too for the 1,000 true Fans. The human mind generally x-rays what the value of the price is for the product to determine its true worth. These decisions are made sometimes on the spot and it’s a critical determinant for success for the seller. An outstanding piece of music can be underpriced, and it turns off the prospective buyers, if it is overpriced, it might get out of reach of the majority but create a new set of target market.
This is another critical factor that should be considered in the attempt to build a fan base; especially the 1,000 True Fans. A true fan will find the true value for a product, relating its current state to what it would be at a certain time, would this piece of music get into the archives or would it remain in the classics? As it portends, these are some of the measures a true fan uses when weighing if to plunge in or stay off. It explains why Pasuma and Kwam 1 have fans who follow their band from one show to the other, irrespective of where they are playing.
The Fan Base
If it has to go up, it must be built. This is no guess work, it takes time, true commitment from the artiste, the producer of any product, the politician or the entrepreneur. It has a lot to do with networking with friends, institutions, family and so on. Networking can be tedious, but in the end it pays wholesomely. Friends and family are your first contact in building your start-up or your brand, as it were; they would actually do free work for you, free recommendations and free marketing. The rewards are enormous, sometimes higher than what paying a marketing company might do for you. These are the foundation on which other fans rest.
If people scare you, no pun intended, kindly hire a manager to oversee the functionality of that part of the business; not every new comer to the business world can handle family or friends’ palava. Ideas properly explained to a good manager can move a hundred steps in days than when you are trying to run it solo or in conjunction with close friends. That’s a fact. You’ll spend more, but get quick results too.
There are methods employed to build a solid fan base aside from the two mentioned here – relying on friends and family or hiring a manager. Be that as it may, it is quite important to understand the concrete reality surrounding the product or a personality. Like described above, media or online marketing companies buying and selling ads, social media consultants involved in marketing and promotions on and offline, and their likes are some possibilities to explore in the bid to reach people you might not be able to reach on your own.
The Final Element
The element of time in building a stable fan base cannot be swept under the carpet. Good work takes time to materialize and it goes along with consistency, tenacity, doggedness and a commitment to forge on no matter the obstacles that show up. Greatness isn’t going to knock on the door and say ‘this is me,’ it takes being persistent and dedicated to the course. And when you have done all that is to be done, simply continue and wait, give it a little time more, increase what drives you. Most great people, talented musicians had nothing other than the sound they produce and an unshaking belief that what they do will turn out fine eventually. There is no overnight success, time is the element that controls it all.