How to build a NATURAL fan base

by Sim-Wise

The absolute number one thing we get asked about as a consultancy is “how do I grow my fan base?” - in fact I’m pretty sure I have written a blog on it before. Yep, totally did.

However, seeing as it is a persistent, evergreen problem it is worth going back and reiterating a few key points. Firstly, nobody is guaranteed an infinite fan base. Just because you exist, it doesn’t guarantee you a following, especially nowadays when internet nudity IS an infinite commodity. In a highly saturated marketplace you have to work hard to differentiate yourself and that means working on making your content unique, developing a hardcore posting schedule, and filling your socials with MEANINGFUL interactions.


At the same time, IF what you are doing is worthwhile, as in, good quality and worthy of attention, then it is our belief that given time a fan base WILL naturally follow. Maybe not instantly, but given time and perseverance a fan base will come.

Now, there are two main kinds of fan base: natural and forced. Natural fan bases are built over a long period of time by doing things that are eye catching or interesting. Whether that is having a unique look (or being genetically blessed), creating unique or distinctive content, or having some other kind of “sticking factor” (you’re famous for something, you’ve been on TV, you write well, you’re the next Siswet, you’re funny, you have a really relatable personality, or a breathtakingly beautiful anus). The more unique you are, the more sticking factors you have, the larger and more invested your fan base becomes. The more invested your fan base is, the less likely they are to cross pollinate and go elsewhere.


What do you mean by cross pollinate?


Cross pollination is what bees do when they flit from flower to flower (much in the same way that a lot of fans do). Here is a very rudimentary Venn diagram that explains how fan base cross pollination works:

Basically, the more your fan base crosses over with others, the more diluted and fair weather it becomes until you are all basically sharing a “community pool” of fans who will never commit to any one of you, they just bounce back and forth trying to catch the best offers... all hallmarks of a "forced fan". Which

 

A forced fan base is one that is either bought or acquired via spammy practises (sorry guys, this DOES include things like RT groups, likes trains, auto tweets, s4s, and sex worker threads). Any behaviour that will get you flagged or shadow banned is a behaviour that is indicative of a forced or semi-forced fan base. You can’t “hack” a fan base, most fans can see right through this kind of behaviour, and while the fan base you gain this way can be large, it will be short lived, because they won’t be very invested in you as a creator. They are the kind of fan that will come for a half price sale and then fuck off into the night never to be seen again.

This is why when you pay big bucks for a big name creator (usually with a natural fan base, built over time) to share your content, you don’t get a lot of return on it - their fans are there for them and only them. There is very little space for cross pollination. Any fans you get will still be THEIR fans and they are only giving you a bit of passing interest because so-and-so told them to, because they don’t know enough about you or you haven’t provided enough sticking factors. If your content is good they might stick around, but they will always be most loyal to the creator that you bought them from. Save your money and invest it in your content instead. 

 

So while natural fan bases are notoriously slow to build, the pay off is bigger as the fans you gain are very loyal, they spend, and they stick around for a long time - especially if you make some kind of nostalgic connection with them.


Now we’re not saying you can’t recommend each other or network, just that those recommendations will only be effective if you are invested in them. Nobody likes to be sold to and an RT or shout out is basically an ad - something that interrupts your regular content that your fans probably won’t be interested in 90% of the time. Following a creator on social media who constantly just plugs other people is like watching a TV channel where all the programming is ads - how do you find out who they are and what they are about among all the ads? You don’t. You get bored, switch off, and hit unfollow.

A shoot with another creator will always be better than an RT. Consistently liking another creators RELEVANT posts will always be more effective than an RT as it suggests that creator to your fans in an organic way, where they feel like they discovered it themselves. The creators that are out there smashing it are the ones who are consistently posting shit hot content and making meaningful interactions with their fans on a daily basis, who only RT when it is relevant. We understand this can sound ultra defeating, and like a lot of hard work (IT IS) but if you are motivated and tenacious it IS doable!

Nobody ever said this was gonna be easy, but here are some tips to be getting on with:


STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE - rather than comparing yourself to others, focus on yourself and developing your own brand so that it is unique and has many sticking factors. The more eye catching your work, the more it will attract attention.


CUT DOWN ON THE SPAMMY BEHAVIOURS - we're not saying go completely cold turkey, but be more selective and thoughtful about your RTs and who you support. If you MUST cross pollinate, try to find creators that have similar qualities as yourself and shoot with them or do a joint live stream for the best chance of success.


FOCUS ON THE FANS YOU HAVE - NOT THE FANS YOU HAVEN'T - fans have feelings and if you spend your time complaining about the fans and subscribers you don't have, it's not going to endear you to the ones that you do. Concentrate on giving the fans that you have an exceptional experience so that they stick around. REMEMBER: 1 long term, loyal fan is worth 10-20 fair-weather fans from the community pool!


Hope that helps, and if you need more tips check out our BEGINNER'S WORKBOOK.

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