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How to build a fanbase

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:38 pm
by Caveat Lector
I know that one factor that plays into the success of a work is how you can build a fanbase for it. What I would like to know is how to do it. I want to hear the input of others about how to go about building this fanbase. Social media can help, but are there other factors to it as well.

Re: How to build a fanbase

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:03 pm
by plainviewer

If your idea is interesting enough, fans will always be made. But depending on your resources, creating that fan base can be either very easy, or very difficult. Coming from someone who's been down this rode before (trying to use the internet to gain attention to a product) I'll give you some insight.

First, you have to already be an active participant of social media platforms. Either many people follow the things you make like videos, or you regularly engage with many people in one of these platforms, e.g., a forum. Otherwise, if no one recognizes you, that's an extra obstacle to overcome.

Second, you need supporters, or like an indirect sponsor. You need someone who owns a large following or medium relevant to your product (like someone who owns a popular YouTube channel on video games). In this case, it's a simple matter of, "I help you, and you help me." When asking strangers to go out of their way, you have to know how to sell your product, so they'll be interested in helping you--they have to see what's in it for them.

To use the aforementioned example, if you want a popular Youtuber to mention your game, maybe give him early access to play it. Or promise him a free copy he'll showcase on his channel upon release date.

Third, you'll need money, no matter what. Hundreds of thousands of things are uploaded online every day. More than half get swept under the rug in less than a week, because people are always looking for tomorrow's interesting thing. Instead of going to the fans, you have to make them come to you. Rather than making posts everywhere saying, "Please buy my product," you need advertisement strategically placed to the relevant demographic. Even subconsciously. people know an ad for a game holds more weight than just "another post."

The easy and effective way to gain a fanbase, is with money. Buy the help of aforementioned supporters who will spread the word, and place some ads. This way, your product will definitely get noticed, it's just a question of if it's worth noticing at all. You don't want to be "just another ad." So make sure it's an ad worth seeing, and don't underestimate how important that is, because we skip dozens of ads every day.

This is the hard way (and the one I went through): sending several dozen messages to possible supporters. Even if you have a good sales pitch, only a few might be willing to help you. Then you have to make a profile on nearly every major social media platform: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, DeviantArt, etc. And you have to constantly update all of those profiles, and having many of them is to make sure you're easy for fans to access.

Then, you have to talk like a professional. Money is at stake, and this is a business, so if you want people to take you seriously, you have to talk professionally, even if they're speaking a bit too casually.

Last piece of advice is study the methods of other game companies who advertised correctly. Again, they use Youtubers to help gain attention. A new trend I'm seeing are development videos, where they interview their staff about the creation process--a behind-the-scenes kind of thing. Have more than one trailer, one showcasing story and another the gameplay, before the final release trailer. You get the idea.

But I can't stress this enough, you need to get some money for decent marketing. Doesn't matter if the game is already finished, do not release it until you've gained a moderate amount of attention first. From what I've seen that works, 90% of effective marketing for things like games, is all done before the game is released, not after. Why? Well, it's easier to sell a brand new car with a lot of hype, than one that's been sitting around for a few months. So if you take any part of my advice, take that last one.

Even if you do everything right the hard way, it might take months before you get a moderate fanbase. True, you're doing the same things in the easy and hard way. The only difference is money opens up more resources, and speeds up the process of gaining attention. Some people who don't have much funding get luck and gain a lot of attention. But I wouldn't base success on luck.

So with that, I hope you can make use of this information.

Re: How to build a fanbase

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:11 pm
by Kinjo
1. Make things.
2. Finish things.
3. Show off both of those things on social media.
4. Get talking with other people who make similar things.
5. Get talking with other people who like the things you make.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 until you're satisfied.