Creating Your Most Valuable Asset: Super Fans

“man performing on stage” by Jan Střecha

We’ve all seen them before. They’re the first to comment “🐐🐐” on a snippet 3 seconds after an artist has posted it. They go out dripped in every piece from a merch line like they were personally invited via a handwritten letter to model it on a runway. Hell, they’re probably the reason you didn’t get tickets to that last show you really wanted to see because they bought 10 “just in case.” Who are these people? They’re none other than superfans. To the average music-listener they can be extremely annoying, but to artist's, they are the cornerstone of a successful career.

A superfan is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. They are that person who’s going to go the extra mile to make sure that you succeed. They buy your merch, they come to every show, they shout your name from the mountaintops for everyone to hear!

But who are these superfans? Where do they come from? And more importantly, how can you get one or a few hundred? You’ll be glad to know that superfans aren’t born, they’re made. They were once regular people like you and me who were treated so well by an artist that they became completely enamored with them. With that being said, a superfan definitely isn’t created overnight. It’s the result of months and even years of intimate relationship building between an artist and a fan. In theory, you could start today. But before you do, you must first understand your existing fans.

In the early 1900’s (stick with me here) an Italian economist by the name of Vilfredo Pareto realized that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of it’s total population. He looked into a few other industries and realized that 80% of production was coming from just 20% of companies. This theory came to be known as the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 Rule, and was soon found that it applies to a bunch of different professions and topics. However, don’t focus on the specifics of the number. It’s not always exactly 80/20. The theory is pretty much stating that a majority of your results will come from a minority of the people.

For artist’s, it can apply to a lot of things regarding you and your music or content. I’m sure if you looked at it you would find that a majority of your streams comes from a minority of your fan base, or that most of your engagement on social media comes from a small portion of your followers. But what does this have to do with creating superfans? It’s simple. The minority are your superfans! Or at the least, your most engaged fans who are the most likely to convert to superfans. So with that being said, pay attention to your analytics, who’s commenting and engaging with you on your socials, and the people that are coming out to see you perform. These are the people that you’ll want to target. Once you’ve figured that out it’ll be time to start the conversion.

It’s the result of months and even years of intimate relationship building between an artist and a fan.

So once you’ve found the people to target, how do you start? How do you begin to convert them into superfans? It’s definitely not an easy process, but it’s far from impossible. Remember earlier when I said that building superfans can take months or even years of intimate relationship building? That is the key! Intimate relationship building. Treat these fans like gold. Respond to them. Ask them questions. Do special things for them and them only. Have meet and greets. Make them feel appreciated. Whatever it takes for you to build a personal connection with those people do it! Get creative with it too. I remember Lil Yachty inviting his fans backstage after one of his tour dates to play Uno and eat pizza and I thought that was genius. I bet those same fans went home and streamed his album 100 times that night. They’ll probably stick by his side until the day he retires.

Treat these fans like gold.

Fans are the building blocks of an artist’s career, but superfans are the foundation for a successful career. Like everything else it’ll be hard work, but worth it in the end. First, find out who your most engaged fans or supporters are, and then cater to them. Do this consistently for months and years, repeating the process every time you add someone new to your inner circle. Before you know it, you’ll have your own army of superfans.