You’ve reached that proud point in your career that you’ve been striving for – your fanbase is growing. Exponentially.
You’re watching your follower numbers tick upward every day – five figures, six figures, seven figures… You’re probably half-celebrating, and half-suppressing a panic attack. You may be thinking, “How the heck am I going to stay in touch with all these people?”
Fostering relationships with your fans is priceless
But as your fanbase grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay in touch with all of your fans. Even just your super engaged fans are numbering a lot higher now. Peter Hollens touts the importance of responding to every single comment and DM to grow your tribe – but what about when those comments number in the hundreds? Or the thousands?
Here are ways you can keep your relationship with your fans feeling personal, without running yourself dry in the process:
Continue responding to comments, within reason
Keep responding to comments. You don’t want to lose your social momentum entirely. But give yourself a reasonable amount of time to do so, with the understanding that you won’t get back to everyone.
Answering every single comment could take up all 24 hours of your day now, so set aside some time each week (or daily) to respond to comments. Even a simple like or heart is a nice gesture that tells your fans, “I see you!”
Facebook Live Events
Facebook live makes it incredibly easy to start streaming on the go. A Facebook live event has a really personal feel to it. It’s a real-time link from the polished world of your artwork to the raw, personal world of you the artist. You can engage with many people at one time by talking to them directly and answering questions as they’re asked.
Here are some topics for going Live:
- Q&A session – Address their questions while you’re walking down the street! Make it impromptu, or host an exclusive one for superfans only.
- Behind the Scenes – Give peeks into your new projects and the interesting places they lead you. Preview your latest piece, share a snippet of a new movie, or ask your collaborator to say hello to your fans.
- Studio Tour – Got a cool space where you make all of your art? Show it off and take your fans on a tour.
- Day in the Life – Sometimes the mundane parts of our creative lives are actually super interesting to others. Go live while you’re getting supplies at the art store, grabbing ingredients for your next recipe, or in the middle of a co-write.
- Rehearsals – If you’re a musician or a public speaker, live stream your rehearsals.
Speak to fans in videos and posts
Make a “Thank you!” post.
Sometimes the best way to say “Thanks!” to a large group is to simply use your platform to do so. Get on YouTube and make a video thanking your subscribers for following you. Post a thank you letter in your blog. Sincerely talk to your fanbase as if you were speaking to just one single fan. It’s a great trick for helping you to write more personally. Your fans will feel the love and appreciate your effort to speak directly to them.
Address their thoughts directly.
When you’re skimming your comments, do you see a common question or idea that keeps coming up? Address it in your next video or post. This shows your fans that you’re listening to them and keeping up with what they’re saying to you.
Send out email blasts that aren’t marketing based
Even just a simple “Hey? How’re ya doing? Here’s whats happening in my life-” is nice to see instead of the usual “Here’s the latest thing for sale.” Write emails that talk to your fans like diary entries. Share with them your daily doings, your struggles, and your plans for the future.
Pro tip: set up an automation sequence that does exactly this. It will run while you sleep, nurturing your fans without running you ragged.
Host contests and giveaways
Events like contests and giveaways coupled with live streaming is a great way to get in touch with large numbers of your fans. Everyone wants to win something fun with you. You also give them the added benefit of hanging out with you in an informal setting. Offer to answer some questions or take some requests, too, to make the event feel more personal.
However, if you are setting up a contest with your patrons, remember — not all contests are allowed on Patreon. If you want to know which kinds of contests are allowed on Patreon, check out our Trust and Safety article, Patreon’s stance on raffles, lotteries and giveaways.
Watch cover videos your fans are making and comment & share them
This is a really great way to make someone’s day. Leave a comment on reply videos, covers, and other videos that mention you. Even better, share that video on your social networks. It’s a great way to pay it forward to your fans.
When you do have the opportunity to mix and mingle with fans in person, talk to them. Your time is limited and occasions like this may be rare. You certainly can’t shake everyone’s hand, but if you can give even a few moments of your time in person, you’ll make a lasting impression on that fan.
Some ways to do this include:
- Meet and greets – hold these immediately after shows or randomly
- Concerts and shows – always head back to the merch booth after a show and talk to your fans as they purchase your gear.
- Speaking events – come off stage and talk to people in the audience
This is an acquired skill. Remember – your time is valuable
Finding a balance between serving your fans and keeping your sanity is a learned skill. Know your limits. With time, you’ll learn how to nurture your amazing fans in ways that leave you and them feeling excited.