The Importance of a Strong Fan Base Vs. A Large Fan Base

On July 26 I got a bump in traffic and views thanks to a re-tweet from Harry Partridge, an animator and hilarious dude.
What was interesting was his RT gave us about 200 more views, several re-tweets and likes from some of his fans. Why am I telling you this? RT and @ replies are nothing new, <smug> I get them every day </smug>. Harry is an artist with a strong fan base, which means they like and pay attention to him. He's earned that attention with his work.

I have a fake twitter account called Pope Lil' Wayne. It has a much larger fan base than Harry, around 24k followers. WOW, right?! Wrong. The followers are a collection of spam and kids who think I'm some how affiliated with Lil Wayne. They do not pay attention to anything I send out.

  • Pope Lil' Wayne's large fan base yields no action. 
  • Harry's smaller, yet strong, fan base yields action.

It's not a numbers game; it's a connection game. All the followers and likes in the world don't mean anything if you're not being paid attention to. And when you DO have an audience that is listening, you find you don't need a lot of trickery, shouting or clever ads to get them to listen. All you have to do is show them your thing and they spread it for you. What Harry has, in essence, is what I'm trying to build.

The objective of the strong fan base game is to find people who find you worth listening to. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

How strong is your fan base? (I don't care how large it is) Is anyone actually listening to you? Are they fans? Friends? Family? Can these followers help get your work out there? Perhaps you're getting @replies but from only the same few people or RTs from the same person over and over. That's fine, but don't be tricked into thinking you're connected.

Methods I use to (hopefully) create & sustain a strong following:

  • Provide interesting content in the form of new videos, blog posts, tweets, etc.
  •  Communicate with my audience. Respond to all replies and RTs.
  • Test my influence, paying close attention to who's listening and what they are listening to. Tools like bit.ly make it easy to track link clicks. All video sites and blogs keep detailed analytics about the traffic that comes to my content.
  • Check out who starts following me. A majority of them have been spam or some joker playing the mass follow game (that's where they follow a shit ton of people, hoping a fraction follow them back). In any case, I block them. Again, high numbers are worthless if you're being ignored. You're strengthening your influence and connections, which is not synonymous with a high number of followers.

What about you? What do you do to keep a strong following? Please comment below.

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