Finding fans is hard enough. Finding great, true, loyal, superfans that you have an actual connection with is even harder. Taking one from the well-known “1,000 True Fans” manifesto: having a small but faithful following of fans who look forward to being a part of everything you do can make the critical difference between full-time professional, living-wages musicianship, and starving artistdom.
So how do you find those superfans? And most importantly, how do you find your superfans who truly connect to you, your lifestyle, your tastes, your preferences, and generally align with the kind of life you want to live?
Make an imaginary fan profile
Inbound marketers call this fictitious personality a "persona," and they can get pretty in depth. For our purposes, we’ll be going over a few basic criteria in your superfan’s profile to get you started.
Design your superfan based on your ideals
As you make the profile for your fictitious superfan, keep your ideals in mind. Think about the type of person you want to talk to at shows. The kind of person who has similar interests as you. This is the kind of superfan you want to attract in order to have a fulfilling career, filled with people that you actually want to spend time with.
Now, let’s get down to it! Here's what you'll want to know about your ideal superfan:
What other artists do they listen to?
This is a great resource. If you know what other artists your ideal fans listen to, then you can take pointers from these existing bands. Mimic what they do on social media. Take a look at their branding. Can your branding be similar? Do you like it? Does it feel genuine?
Perhaps even more valuable is the possibility of shows. Play where these bands are playing – your potential superfans are already going to shows there! Maybe even see if you can get an opening slot on their tour.
We’re reminded of the ever-present Picasso quote, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” Take what these other artists and bands are doing well that you resonate with, and recreate them for your own career.
What are their hobbies?
What do they like to do in their off time? What do they pour their passion into? Is it the kind of stuff you could talk to them about after shows? Common interests are key. If you and your fans can align on something like this, then you’ll always have something to talk about.
You can also get involved in organizations, projects, and media outlets that have to do with your favorite hobbies or side passions and connect with other like-minded folks. This will greatly amplify your quality of life while helping grow your fanbase!
What is their family life like?
Are they single? Dating? Happily married with a big ol’ coop of children? Knowing your superfans' family situations will help you to learn more about how they spend their time and energy.
Singles might enjoy going to see live music at bars where they can mix and mingle. They might stay out late. Parents, on the other hand, might have limited time or resources to spend on outings that don’t involve their children. Moms and dads are exhausted at the end of the day and may have all their hours accounted for. Parents might prefer to attend family events like neighborhood festivals where their kids can have just as much fun as they will.
Which restaurants, coffee shops, and stores do they go to?
I like this question a lot because it gives you a good idea of the type of environments your superfans like the hang out in. This is the “what” they surround themselves with, and sometimes includes the “who,” as well.
Are your superfans coffee-shop conversationalists who enjoy a nice hot cup of joe with their best friend? Are they foodies who frequent all the newest local restaurants and hot spots? Are they wine drinkers who love spending time at tastings and pairing the best entree with the best red?
When it comes to shopping, what are they spending their money on? Custom jewelry from their favorite Etsy store? The latest fashion from the department store at the mall? Designer sunglasses? Beach bags for their weekend beach getaways? Plan your merch accordingly!
Knowing where they like to hang out can give you a great idea of where to book shows, where to meet these folks, and what type of merch they’ll actually want to buy.
Other qualities to consider
Some other items you can outline about your superfans include dietary lifestyles, job, salary, preferences for albums, downloads, or streaming – the list goes on and on.
Now, you can use this information to direct your marketing and creative efforts in a targeted manner.
Sarah Spencer is a singer/songwriter and blogger, working, living, and playing in Nashville, TN. By day, she's the creative director at boutique creative agency for the music industry. When she's not on the web, she's writing songs, playing shows, and singing as a session vocalist.