Successful dance careers and businesses require fans. Loyal fans.
What’s goin’ on? It’s Can from Poreotics. Today I’ll be talking about building a loyal fan base. I’ll break everything down into easy steps and share with you some lessons I’ve learned from building my own fan base.
If you’re reading this, you’re now apart of the ongoing conversation of what makes a dancer successful. This is the place for all dancers who are hungry for growth beyond the physical realm of dance. If it’s your first time reading my blogs, I recommend you read my previous blogs here.
Before we start, go ahead and keep a new tab open with this URL: https://www.instagram.com/can.poreotics/
That way, you have a reference to follow along for this blog.
The Current Me:
If you look through my page, you’ll see that most of my posts are dance videos or dance related in some way. It wasn’t always like this. There’s a reason why I post the way I do now. It’s because I want to build a specific type of fan base: Dope dancers who want to grow in more ways than just dance and be successful at it.
In order to have a loyal fan base, you have to target a specific audience and focus on creating content that communicates with that audience. You essentially give the people what they want but at the same time, give them something they didn’t know they wanted.
In marketing, one of the first steps of building an audience is to create a “Customer Avatar.” What this means is, create a character with certain traits that fit the type of person you’re looking to communicate with. This can be a very useful tool if used correctly.
Why not use this tool for our dance careers? We are trying to build a loyal fan base so what better way to do that than to create an imaginary fan to help us paint a picture of what our audience looks like?
As a gamer, I like to view this process as something similar to creating a character for an RPG. If you don’t know what an RPG is, it stands for “Role-Playing Game.” You create a hero/avatar with certain skill sets and you even get to name this character.
For dancers, let’s create an avatar that represents our fan base. Instead of assigning skill points for damage, or dexterity, let’s assign them some basic interests and personality traits.
Name: Ian Westwood
Interests: Dance, choreography, music, film, creativity
Traits: Motivated, Passionate, Eager to Learn
Now that we have an avatar, let’s figure out how we can communicate with them. Before we do that, let’s ask ourselves a few questions and clarify our goals.
- What’s the purpose of communicating to this person? (aka WHY?)
- How can you benefit this person?
- What do you hope to gain from this conversation?
- I want to reach out to this person because I want to share my passion of dance/choreography/music with them because those align with my interests as well.
- I can benefit this person by sparking their creativity with my own original ideas and exchange knowledge with them in the form of meaningful conversations or creating relevant content. This creates an environment for growth and creativity.
- I hope to build a positive and creative relationship with this person so that we can build a community of successful dancers who also want to grow and learn.
Once you answer these questions, you can start the communication process. Depending on what YOUR goals are, you might have to make some adjustments.
There are many ways to do this. My preferred method is utilizing social media. You can definitely gain an audience through TV or other forms of media but the most accessible one is social media. The form of communication depends on what works best for you.
What do you actually say to these people?
Think back to our avatar. If they were a real person, how would you talk to them? I suggest being as genuine as possible because there’s no reason to fake your personality to get what you want.
Always think about the interests of the other person first because no one wants to hear someone talk about themselves. When you reach out to someone, you are trying to get to know them so don’t be creepy and don’t be pushy. You can read this book if you want to know more about making friends.
The format for your content can be anything. It can be a video, picture, comment, blog, or literally any form of communication. Just make sure you post content with those important questions and your avatar in mind.
There are definitely different levels for reaching out to your audience.
If you have absolutely ZERO fans, I would start by reaching out to your family and friends first and ask them if they know anyone with the same interests as your avatar.
Refer back to Ian Westwood or whatever avatar you created and try to find people that match that person as best as you can. It won’t be perfect so you can always modify your character to be more realistic using traits of actual people.
Always post links or give people a way to follow you so that you can start building a following. If you don’t put your stuff out there, no one will ever know about your social media so keep on posting! Post about your pages daily if possible.
Another way of gaining some fans is to audition for things like dance teams, dance TV shows, dance commercials, or entering competitions. If you’re already doing this, make sure you post about the things you audition for, if possible. This is how people will know what you’re up to and they might want to root for you.
If you have a social media following of 500 or more, I would reach out to your followers via posting or a survey and ask them what type of content are they interested in. Don’t be afraid to DM people and ask them what they like as well.
At this stage, you can build a good foundation for your followers because you have a small group to focus on. Our goal is to get to know our audience and see what kind of people are following us, then talk to them as if you were meeting that person in real life.
Chances are, if you build a solid relationship with your small following, they may end up being your most loyal fans when you start to gain a larger following.
If you’ve got more than 10k but you’re stuck, do some experiments with your posts. Post ONLY what you want people to follow you for and nothing else. In our case, you want to build a following that is interested in dance + something unique to you. You want to narrow down your audience as much as possible.
I say this because there is such a broad spectrum for dance, you need to really narrow it down and talk to your avatar only and ignore the rest. You may lose followers but at least the people following you will stay for the right reasons.
At this point, you should already know what your followers want to see from you and focus on that. If not, refer back to the earlier steps.
If you’ve got 1 Million+ followers, contact me and let’s talk. I’m forever a student so I welcome any advice you’d like to give. To become successful, you should always learn from people who are more successful than you are.
Building A Successful Relationship:
Once you reach out to your audience, you need to build that relationship like how you build any relationship. You take things one step at a time and don’t rush into things. For some people this is common sense but for others, that might not be the case. I have to say it anyway just in case people forget.
Communicate clearly to your audience. If they don’t understand your message, say the same thing in a different way. Take some basic communication lessons and improve that skill. The better you communicate, the better the relationship.
Tell A Story when you create a post because people love stories. It’s in our nature. It’s what gives us a personality. If you take that away, your relationship with your audience could become stale and boring. Remember that the one thing that makes you unique from everyone else is your story. Remember that you want people to root for you so tell them about your ups and downs but try to stay positive.
Listen to everything your audience is saying to you. Read as many messages or comments as you can so that you can put yourselves in their shoes. When you understand what they’re saying clearly, you can respond with the proper message. You might hear a lot of good and bad things but just remember that they’re just opinions. Take in what’s important to your growth, leave out the irrelevant stuff.
Last but not least, show Enthusiasm when you communicate. If you’re truly passionate about what you’re saying, this should be a piece of cake. If you feel like you’re forcing it, maybe it’s time to find something else you’re passionate about. The more effort you put into this, the more effort others will put in if done right.
Review The Results:
This step is my favorite because this is where you get to see all the glorious mistakes and problems that you run into. Then you get to fix them and improve!
I’ve got a case study for this section and I’ll be using my own Instagram as the subject. This is how I reviewed things. I went back through my old posts to review my stuff..Here’s what I learned:
The Old Me…
Let’s go back in time: https://www.instagram.com/p/BcHx1ZtnzUa/
Notice that this post has nothing to do with anything. I had no reason for posting it other than the fact that I thought it was interesting (Don’t ask me why). The content had absolutely zero purpose. I had one comment and about 200 likes.
Now let’s go back further in time: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ0g8jLHyy1/
At this point, I had less followers than the previous post but because the content had to do with dancing, it did fairly well.
What I learned:
My followers follow me because they are also interested in dancing but more specifically, they’re interested in tutting. I should only post things related to that as much as possible. Without adding a purpose to my posts, people will be confused or show no interest.
Check out the posts side by side:
The purpose of this tutting video (bottom pic) was to post a video of me practicing because I wanted to show people my interest in improving my tuts. This can relate to a lot of my followers because I assume that they also want to improve their tuts or they just enjoy watching me tut.
This post clearly did better and more people left comments and started putting in effort towards my post because I also put in effort on my end.
Back then, I had no purpose for my Instagram other than posting whatever I felt like posting. If people liked it, cool. If they didn’t like it, I’m posting it anyway because I liked it. That was my old mindset.
That old type of mindset is a good example of what NOT to do when you’re trying to communicate. This is what I call a “one way relationship.” We all know how those end.
Back to The Current Me…
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I now only post dance videos and dance related things because I learned who my audience was and how to communicate with them. My audience is filled with people who appreciate the art of dance, especially tutting, waving, and robotics. If I’m wrong about this, it doesn’t matter because those are the only people I want to target anyway.
Now go out there and build your audience. Learn and study them. Show them what kind of dancer you are. Build those successful relationships!
While you get to work, Keep this in mind:
Put yourself out there with full awareness of how you look and sound. If you want to be known as a dancer, post content that portrays that. As long as you clearly communicate your content and build an engaging relationship with your audience, they will eventually become your loyal fans.
Focus on the people that actually care about what you’re doing. Always ask yourself if what you’re posting is relevant to those people. Make it a habit to reach out to those people only.This is the type of focus you need to have in order to build a loyal fan base.
If someone compliments you on your work, show them your gratitude.The more effort you put into getting to know someone, the better friends you’ll become with them. Always remember to put others first and be genuine in order to create a good relationship. They will be able to relate with you on deeper levels because you decided to dig deep and understand what they like and more.
This will take time…
It took me a few months to really understand social media and how to build an audience. Everything that I’ve told you was based on my own personal experience and lessons which you will also gain if you put the effort into communicating properly. You will make mistakes so mentally prepare yourself for that and remember that there will always be a way to improve.
If you need further mentoring or guidance, you can join my program and we’ll figure out solutions for you together. Read more about Group Mentoring.
Thank you SO much for reading and I hope you learned a thing or two about successful dancing. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me because I do respond to my e-mails, believe it or not.
Also, please share this with other dancers who you think might benefit from this blog. They can read the whole blog by signing up right here: https://mailchi.mp/d8c136cb05c1/successfuldancing
Don’t forget to follow me on social media and we can stay connected.
Until next time,
-Can the Man