… is better than two in the bush, and maybe better than 100 on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Why? Because when your fans live on one or more of these platforms they do not belong to you. They belong to the platform. Sure, you brought your fans to these networks, and can communicate with them. You hope that they notice your posts or photos, even though there is the distraction of all of the other artists and celebrities talking at once. If your fans are the obsessive ones, they probably will notice you. But what about all of the others who like you but are more passive in their pursuit of you, the ones that might turn up at a gig if they knew about it ahead of time but don’t really want to see your family photos or video clips?
The value of a fan is based on how easy it is to connect with them. If you can’t reach them, then they are of limited value in terms of selling tickets or seats in a cinema or stadium. It’s becoming harder and harder to reach fans because there are a lot of other people between you and them. These brands that are eating your lunch. Social networks, promoters and booking agents are all earning money from your fans before any of it trickles down to you. But the social networks don’t share any of the revenue they earn from your fans with you. You do all the work to get the fans and they get to keep them and monetize them.
But when you own your fans you can literally have them eating out of the palm of your hand. If they are connected to you through your own branded mobile fan app then there is no intermediary, no one collecting the tolls before they come onto your bridge. If you own their email addresses and can contact them directly any time you want, well, that’s when things get really exciting.
Imagine that you want to organize a pop-up event somewhere. Maybe there is a new restaurant chain opening up and they want you to invite your friends to come see you there, as a way of driving some traffic to them. But the only fans that are useful to them are the ones in their neighborhood. They don’t care about all of the others around the country and planet. Have you ever tried getting people to turn up to event by creating a Facebook event lately? If you have, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. It doesn’t work anymore… or perhaps it works 10% as well as it used to. You can’t really see where your fans are now or where they live. But if you could send your fans in a particular neighborhood a notification, directly to their mobile phone, telling them that you are going to be at this new cool restaurant at Hollywood and Vine tonight, then you would be worth so much to the brand. They want your fans? Then they are going to have to pay for them! Bang!
You really gotta get your fans in hand.