Your Friends are Not Your Fans

Posted: August 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

Your friends are not your fans.

Your friends are not your fans.

and one more time…

Your friends are not your fans.

This had to be repeated 3 times because I didn’t know the difference between the two for a long time and many bands still don’t. When you are starting out as a band in London (or anywhere for that matter) you invite your circle of friends and family. And it’s really cool that your true friends support you by attending your gig. Your closest friends will keep supporting you in whatever you do forever. If you are lucky you will have at least one or two of these.

Fans at a rock gig

Fans at a rock gig

But a lot of bands make the mistake of constantly marketing their gigs to their friends. And then being dissapointed that their friends didn’t come to their gig. Of course they won’t, they can’t keep coming to your gigs because they are not fans of your music! Heck you are lucky if they are even into the same genre of music as you are.

Marketing to friends is understandable however because they are the first people on your mailing list or phone book. Some friends may indeed become fans, but that is only a small proportion. And the pressure in London is to bring 20 paying people to gigs. This isn’t easy so you start off with friends naturally. But that might actually be doing you more harm then good. Mostly because of the damage it does to your confidence whenever friends don’t show up to gigs.

So what to do instead? Ignore the 20 people requirement and figure out who really likes your music. Who is your real fan? What do they do for a living? What else do they listen to? How old are they? Where do they otherwise hang out? You will in fact have at least a few real fans who come to your gigs. So pay close attention to them and try and find more like those.

According to the article “How Well Do You Know Your Fans” by Johathan Ostrow fans can actually be subdivided into these categories:

  • Friend
  • Bandwagon Fan
  • Listener
  • Hobbyist
  • Committed
  • Superfan

For starters if your friends are into the same type of music as you are, go to the same gigs then you know how to start your targeting. Also other bands you meet are in that “more than a friend” category so you can invite them too with their permission.

So have a look at your mailing list and then categorise the people who come to your gigs or/and support you. You might find you are surprised. You do run a proper mailing list, don’t you? Anyway, I did this exercise and I actually ended up removing people from my band mailing list! I didn’t really want to bug some of my friends about constant gigs.

For more on this, check out these two articles:

How Well Do You Know Your Fans
10 Tips to Get Real Fans (not friends) to Shows


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