How to find your 100 true fans

BY Amanda Smith


22 May 2018

Reading Time: 3 minutes

100 true fans. That’s all you need. This might come as a shock to a world where you’re ‘judged’ based on the number of Instagram fans or followers on your blog. Kevin Kelly introduced the 1,000 True Fans concept, which he believes every artist needs to have.

An artist is a creator – a musician, photographer, performer, visual artist, animator, designer or author.

A true fan is someone who will purchase anything (and everything) you offer. They can’t wait for your next piece of work and even your merchandising. They’re diehard fans, in every sense of the word. Like those Apple fanatics who wait in line for hours outside a store for the new iPhone.

The idea of 1,000 True Fans focuses on quality, not quantity. Now, while it’s good to dream of 1,000 fans, if we’re applying this concept to the SME space, we believe the proportionate number is 100.

100 True Fans. This doesn’t mean that you should only aim for 100 followers on Facebook or 100 visits to your website. Chances are, you’ll have more. You’ll need more. Not everyone is going to be a true fan. These 100 are your true believers and your sweet spot.

How to get people lining up for you…

Every successful community is emotion-based. Your fans need to resonate with what you’re offering. It needs to be perceived as something that’ll add value to their life or solve a problem.

Think of how quickly AFL tickets sell out. It’s because of each team’s diehard, ‘tribal’ fans, referred to as ‘face painters’ in some marketing circles, as well as signed up members. Sport creates community, which is another key ingredient to your 100. The feeling of inclusion and being part of something. They come together for more than just a love for your product (or service) – but to belong.

You need to care about more than just selling a product. The 100 True Fans is built from memorable experiences and emotional connections. It’s not a quick, ‘let’s get a bunch of orders’ race. It’s a marathon. It’s a commitment to creating long-term fans.

Building customers for life.

Here’s what we mean by that:

  • Personal calls with your customers
  • Creating unexpected bonuses
  • Share a customer’s unique story using your product or service
  • Introduce your fans to each other to cement community culture.

Any product or business that is built on an insight into their market has a head start. Knowing you’re meeting a need means guaranteed attention from lots of customers. And within those customers, you’ll find your fans.

Alternatively, you’ve got to find people who are interested in your work, then target them. It begins by gaining their trust. Closeness with your fans and showing you understand and are interested in them is key. Interact with them via Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat stories or whatever channel they use, talking their language.

Your fans aren’t an impersonal group of people who you don’t know anything about. Segment your followers based on commitment. Send your fans daily emails or videos with exclusivities. Create a special relationship where they feel special.

Create a wide range of products and have fun with this. Wait to see what clicks. If you only have one offering, consider items that will complete their experience. By designing this type of pack, you encourage a transition from customer to fan status.

Involve yourself at every touchpoint. Tell your story, be human, and show heart. Introduce yourself to new people and ‘bring’ them to your fans. Always keep your promises.

Embrace a bit of friendly gamification. Even as your community grows with new people, don’t forget about your tribe. Use a friendly game to reward your fans engagement. Give them exclusive goodies in return for taking action in something. It’s a win-win in the fact that you’ll get to know them better and cause a viral action.

100 people. That’s all you need.

It’s liberating to think that all you need is 100 people. All too often we look for validation in numbers. But what are 25,000 followers worth if none of them engages with you or shows interest in your products.

100 fans. Spending $1,000 yearly. That’s $100,000.

$100,000 from only 100 people. It’s pretty cool, huh? But your 100 need to feel nothing short of royalty.

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