This guest post is by Jennifer Blanchard of InkyBites.
If you haven’t heard of Taylor Swift, you’ve probably been living in a cave the last few years. Swift is the teen country sensation who took on the music industry starting at the ripe age of 13, and became one of the biggest musical acts in the entire world only a few short years later.
On Twitter she has more than 10 million followers. On Facebook, she has a whopping 27.8 million likes—that’s more than all three of the Kardashian sisters combined!
Not only is Swift one of the most popular musicians in the world (her concerts usually sell out in under two minutes), but she’s also critically-acclaimed: she’s won two-thirds of the awards she’s been nominated for.
There’s a reason for all of Swift’s success. And it’s not because she’s the best singer-song writer in the world (although she’s actually pretty darn good at that, too).
It’s because she knows how to connect with people. She knows how to tug at their heart strings and wrap them around her finger. Funny thing is, she doesn’t do it with her music alone.
While she has received criticism for being just a tad too open with her personal life (she’s known for writing songs all about her exes), it’s being so open about her life that helps people connect with her. She sings of stories her fans have experienced, too. Her music has touched the lives of millions of people and she has become the voice of her generation. But even that isn’t why she has a massive fan base that supports her unconditionally.
She has a massive fan base because she’s mastered the one skill most people spend their lives ignoring: gratitude.
She lives gratitude day-in, day-out. She uses the words “thank you” more than any other phrase in her vocabulary. And she goes out of her way to show her fans how grateful she is for their love and support.
A couple years ago, Swift held a meet-and-greet for her fans where she stayed for 13 hours and met every single person who showed up to see her. Thirteen hours! How many celebrities do you think would do something like that? T
This is all part of what makes Swift special and what makes her fans love her and support her. If you want to grow a massive fan base of your own, here are some tips you can take straight from Swift:
1. Go above and beyond … and then go another mile
Swift’s fans will follow her anywhere, because she always meets them halfway. During her “Fearless” album tour, she went out into the crowd in the middle of two of her songs to hug fans and thank them for coming to the show.
And this was not an impromptu occurrence like you sometimes see at concerts. This was a planned walk into the crowd during the same two songs at every stop on her tour.
“It was really important for me to go out there and actually say hi to people and thank them for coming and be right there next to them … I’m always gonna wanna go the extra mile for them because I can’t believe the extra thousand miles they’re gone for me,” Swift said in the HUB Network documentary series, Taylor Swift: Journey to Fearless.
If you want to grow your fan base, you have to figure out where your fans are and meet them there. Find ways to go above and beyond for them.
If your fans are all hanging out on Google+, that’s where you need to be. Host a series of Hangouts and invite them to join in. Or if your fans are all about Pinterest, logon and start building some boards for them to follow.
Post special content you only share in that one place or host special events for fans in that channel. Go out of your way to show your fans you appreciate each and every one of them.
The more you do this, the bigger your fan base will grow.
2. Reward your super-fans
Swift wanted a way to thank her super-fans, so she put together a T Party event that would happen after the show every night she was on tour. Each night during the concert, her crew went out into the crowd to find the craziest Taylor fans and give them passes to the T Party.
When the show was finished, the super-fans went backstage to the T Party area, which was a Moroccan-style tent set up like a living room with ping pong, TV, and pizza. Swift showed up shortly after the guests arrived to hang out, meet everyone, sign autographs, and thank them for being there.
“The T Party is a way for me to get to meet people after the show … who I just felt so grateful to have on my side. The T Party room gives me an opportunity to say that to them and to give them a hug,” Swift said in the same documentary series.
Do you have super-fans? You know, the people who buy everything you put out there and will drive a ridiculous distance to see you speak/play/perform? Show your super-fans how much they mean to you by personally reaching out to them and offering up something of value—a free coaching session, signed copies of all of your books, whatever it is you do.
When you show your fans—and especially your super-fans—how much they mean to you, you’re stoking the fire of building an incredible fan base.
3. Find ways to surprise people
One last way Swift showed fans how much they mean to her during her “Fearless” tour was she would pop up at the back of the arena during the intermission of the show and play one of her songs on the landing of the stairs, surrounded by fans who weren’t able to get seats up front.
Then she’d continue the show for a little while on a stage near the back of the arena before eventually going back to the front stage. She did this so the “worst seats in the house became the best seats in the house.”
How do you show up for your fans? Is there a way you can surprise them?
For example, if you’re on a blog book tour, do your reading, sign autographs, and then invite everyone who showed up to meet you at a restaurant nearby for dinner. Bonus if you pay for everyone’s meal.
There are literally thousands of ways you can go out of your way to make your fans feel loved and appreciated. Practice gratitude in your life, on your blog and in your business, and in no time you’ll be on your way to growing a Taylor Swift-style fan base.
How do you go out of your way for your fans? What have you done to show them how grateful you are for them?
Jennifer Blanchard is the founder of InkyBites, where she helps artists nourish their creativity by making simple diet and lifestyle changes. Visit the site to grab her free “Clarity Smoothies and Other Energy-Sustaining Snacks” eGuide.