This article is directly inspired from the excellent publication of Kevin Kelly, “1000 true fans” which you can read here .
As we know, for video creators and artists, the world is split into two categories:
On one side the all-mighty aggregators / broadcasters: telecommunication operators, television channels, Amazon, Netflix, Youtube etc … who own their audience thanks to their dominant position.
On the other hand, independent creators must try to find a place in the new ocean of digital contents.
The long tail concept, popularized in 2004 by Chris Anderson, sadly reminds to independent creators, how competition on the Internet has become challenging. The possibility of being able to truly live on our creations is more and more difficult. Let’s look at Youtube: everyone wants to be the next star of this network. But more than 400 hours of videos are uploaded per second… Even with amazing content, it is not easy to stand out from the crowd.
Wait, don’t leave! This is not to discourage you. On the contrary, so many opportunities arise with the development of Internet and there are solutions, such as those theorized by Kevin Kelly which has been tested and validated since the publication of his article in 2008.
What does this theory suggest? Simply that you need to find 1000 True fans to start making a living out of your videos.
That’s all folks. You’re welcome. Have a good day.
Ok, do you want more? Let us go into details.
What is a “True fan” in the art of video creation, a True fan is the one who will buy everything you produce: movies, shorts, DVDs, deluxe packages, collector editions… These are also fans who come to your Previews, make donations on Patreon, finance your Kickstarter campaigns, buy your t-shirts, and share your posts and videos on their social networks.
In theory, it has been determined that a true fan is willing to spend on average a daily salary each year to buy your contents. In Europe or in the United States, would be around 100 $ per year. And so why do you need 1000 true fans? And not 100 or 10000? Well because 1000 x 100 $ = 100 000 $, a reasonable limit to make a living out of your creations.
Of course having 1000 true fans allows you to reach many other people via the community circles of your initial fans (because getting 1000 true fans does not mean having a total amount of 1000 fans, usually it’s more).
These numbers may not be accurate for everyone, but keep in mind that getting 1000 true fans is a reasonable, achievable goal that will allow you to take the first step of financial independence. Then you’ll be on track to turn that into success, and target millions of fans. But that is another story we’ll try to resolve in another article.
This theory is powerful. Then the world is no longer divided in two. You do not have only this binary choice between a random & sudden success and the disappearance in the limbo of the long tail. An intermediate and vital state is possible. And that should fill you with joy and optimism.
The 1000 number is an excellent goal. First, because it makes realistic projections: it’s like finding 2 new true fans every day for 18 months. With today’s digital tools and social networks, it’s more than feasible. Still, it takes time, but as you are passionate, it will soon become natural.
So how do we find 1000 true fans? We think 2 steps are necessary:
1 / Find and target people interested in your work :
We try to help you with that general issue regularly on this blog (within the Marketing Tips category), so feel free to subscribe 🙂
Here are some few tips:
- Be active on all social networks (not just Facebook, but also for example Pinterest)
- Be generous by giving free contents, i.e products that will retain your first audience and make them loyal
- Consider using paid advertising, such as Facebook Ads (boosting a post video can be very effective)
- And of course, “big data” solutions are extremely powerful to locate and identify a captive audience for your contents. Contact us if you would like to know more about this. At FlameFy we offer smart tools to find and engage your audience
2 / Convert this audience into true fans:
There is a fine line between a person who appreciates your work. And a true Fan. But here are several ways to get around this problem:
– Maintain direct and privileged contact with them:
What can explain the success of the new Internet stars? Closeness with their fans, possibility to interact with them at any time: via comments on Facebook or Youtube, via retweets on Twitter, via photos or stories on Snapchat … Your fans are no longer an impersonal group of people, but some humans to whom you can actually send personalized messages and whom you can reward.
With OKAST for example, you can segment your fans based on their commitment. And decide to send emails or videos only to your true fans.
– Create exclusivities:
Send exclusive content to your community. Create a special relationship where they will feel privileged. If they feel this way, it will strengthen your relationship, and they will get faster to the true Fans status!
– Offer a wide range of products:
Create a range of products to allow your audience to become true fans: making of, bonus, merchandising, collector (limited) editions etc… By offering various kind of products, you allow your true fans to assume their role as true fans. If you offer a single “product”, the same for everyone, you do not allow them to differentiate as fans. Some of our creators who have a single content (a movie for example), have already offer packages of contents WITHOUT this main content. Allowing some people who have purchased and loved the movie to complete their experience (without having to buy the main content a second time). By creating this kind of pack you facilitate a transition from “aficionado” to the true fan status.
– Involve yourself:
Spotlight your true fans, make a special thank you video, some dedications, or reply to their comments. Prove that you are close and human.
– Create a special connection with personal contents:
Some fans will become true fans when you will open your heart. Creating contents that show more about you is a great way to convert fans. Show the backstage, talk about yourself, tell anecdotes … Get off the pedestal, be generous also by giving more on the private side. The vehicle that creates a connection is the personal story. By telling your own story, you might highlight some values that will resonate with your fans heart. At least, they will perceive some common points.
– Keep your promises:
One can see the birth of a true Fan as the creation of a friendship. And a friendship is based notably on trust, and the assurance that the other will respect its commitments. So, make sure you keep your promises. If you are announcing a release date, respect it. If you promise discounts, do not change your mind etc …
– Engage with gamification:
Do not forget about your fans, even if you do not have any fresh and exciting news to offer them every day. Think of the “gamification”, for example by rewarding your fans engagements. Ask them to do some specific actions in exchange of a reward. Give them an exclusive content, goodies, a meeting with you etc… if they complete some specific tasks. The benefit: you reinforce their love & engagement, and in some cases, these mechanics can have a viral action (and bring you back more audience). We can offer gamification tools, do not hesitate to ask us by dropping us a quick note to email@example.com
Each of your fans must feel unique. Even though they are all different. In this way they will feel loved, and their commitment to you will be maximum. Only in-depth knowledge of your audience will allow you to do this. For us, this means setting up a branded platform (with only your contents), accessible after login. This ecosystem will allow you to better understand the uses and behaviors of your fans to offer them the best possible content. If you are interested in such a service, we can help you: OKAST for creating your video platform & FlameFy for the audience management part and personalised experience.
Of course, this theory has many limits, which you can read in the original article. Like any theory, it can work for some and not for others. Like any theory, there are exceptions that will prove (or not) the rule.
The important thing is that if it inspires you, then you can build that first step. On our side, we are working hard to offer you:
1 / a technology that allows you to sell your works and videos directly to your fans in VOD or via an OTT platform
2 / a simple service to offer flexible packages, with “deluxe” content or merchandising
3 / tips to develop your community, and therefore recruit true fans
4 / marketing tools for direct relationship, such as free copies or emailing feature, to convert people interested in your content into true Fans
5 / a technology based on big data to find and engage your future true fans, and offer them an awesome (and fun) experience !
Join us on https://okast.tv/ and sign up for free.
The OKAST TEAM.