how to build a fandom of fangirls who crazy love you

so i am about to let you in on a little secret about myself. i am a supernatural fangirl.

now, if you are a huge fan of anything you know that i am not just telling you i that i love the tv show supernatural. fangirls don’t just *love* something… we *crazy love*. we live, eat, breath, dream, dare i say… obsess about the thing we love.

we are part of something bigger than the thing we love, we are a part of a fandom.

a fandom is simply a community or group of fans.

but if you are part of any type of fandom – whether it is for a tv show, a book (hello twilight fans!), a sports team, a band, a person, a product, or a brand – you will know that there is more to it than that. there is a dedicated and devoted quality to a fangirl that isn’t there in your average group of consumers.

you don’t just like that thing, you crazy love it and you can’t get enough of it and you wear that love like a badge and you kinda want to make everyone around you love it too.

and as biz owners we can learn a lot from the fangirls and the fandoms of the world.

consider these characteristics of a fandom:

  • communities

pretty well any fandom that you can think of has a community aspect. whether it is message boards where you can talk to other fans online or events where you can meet with fans in real life… the key is there are places and opportunities to find other like-minded people.

in the supernatural fandom we have livejournal and cons and even our own wiki – but i know that my hubby has all sorts of message boards for his favourite sports teams too. even though he doesn’t even live on that continent anymore, he can find fellow sports fans online.

  • gear

sports teams have their jerseys and their team colours, but most other fandoms have some sort of gear as well: t-shirts, hats, flags, bumper stickers… fans love to have a way to wear their devotion, or at least display it in some way. some fans will even tattoo themselves, that is how strongly they feel about the object of their obsession. it’s personal! plus your gear gives others a way to spot a fellow fan.

supernatural fans have been known to tattoo themselves with a certain anti-possession symbol, but i know twilight fans and harley davidson fans will tattoo too. a fan of lululemon will spot the logo on a clothing item a mile away and i know a few nike fans that will only wear nike and nothing but.

  • fan works

fan works are created by fans, for fans, and come in many forms: fan fiction (written work based on characters or real life people), fan art work, videos, music, memes. true fans feel compelled to contribute something to the fandom and to express their strong feelings in some way.

it’s pretty common to find fan fiction for tv shows, movies, and books, but i have seen it for bands and sports teams too. i know my hubby recently spent an evening creating about 30 meme images to express his opinion on the coaching and direction of his team, and youtube is full of fan created videos for all sorts of obsessions (errrr i mean devotions!)

  • culture

fandoms develop their own unique culture, often with a distinct vibe and sometimes even having their own language or unique activities. this tends to be apparent only to those “in the know” and again separating fangirls from your general consuming public.

in supernatural we have *slash fans* and i remember in the twilight fandom there were *lemons* (and if you have no idea what i am talking about then you now know exactly what i mean about the “in the know” aspect to fandom!) sports teams & bands sometimes have their own unique names for their fandoms (lady gaga fans are little monsters). star trek fans are known for being into cos play (costumes) & and many fandoms include larping (live action role play).

  • feels

feels are the strong emotions that are experienced by members of a fandom. i.e. “that episode gave me all the feels.”

tumblr is full of the feels experienced by supernatural fans, but we aren’t the only one with feels. ask your mom where she was when elvis died and i am sure you will hear all about her feels. or ask your hubby about that one big win for whatever team he loves. the thing about being a devoted fan is that the highs and lows and in-betweens are all heightened. so many feels.

what does all of this mean to you as a biz owner?

well imagine if you could have your own fangirls? fangirls are:

  • loyal – they want what you have and aren’t interested in competitors
  • avid – they will soak up anything and everything you have to offer
  • ambassadors – they will proudly tell people about you and what you do
  • protective – they are the first to oust a complainer, a copycat, or a troll
  • keen – they are happy to provide feedback, test offerings, do trial runs

i bet that you are a fangirl of something or someone – a brand or a product or a person or a thing that you have a huge crush on and fangirl in your own little way. aside from my supernatural *crazy love*, i know i have a few other brands, products, and people that i fangirl.

we should all be striving to not just attract customers, but to turn our customers into fangirls.

but first, take a minute to consider one more thing.

would your brand would even support a fandom?

  • are you building a community where your fans can find other like-minded people?

this could be on facebook or other social media, it could be in person & live, it could be on your own hosted forum…

  • have you got any branded gear that your fans can display or share or print or wave around?

this could be buttons or badges to display on a site, social media images to share or pin, or a manifesto that can be printed and framed.

  • do your fans care enough about your brand message to make their own contribution?

this could come in the form of photos sent in to you, fan made video testimonials, blog posts written about how your product has changed their life, or even a story that goes along with something you sell.

  • does your brand have its own unique culture?

this could be as simple as calling your fans a certain name, having a signature thing associated with your community, or even just a general vibe that is unique.

  • does your brand evoke a strong emotional connection?

this could be a heartfelt email from a customer, this could be an enthusiastic response to a comment on facebook, this could be a fan jumping to your defence when another biz owner copies you.

all of these things require that you:

a.      have complete clarity around what your brand message is

b.      have a strong understanding of the people who will find meaning in it

c.      are able to amplify your message in a way that will connect your brand to your people

once you start to do those things, you are on your way to building your very own fandom. now if you will excuse me, there are two mighty fine looking winchester brothers waiting for my on my PVR.

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would you like help amplifying your brand message and building your own fandom of fangirls that crazy love your biz? the amplify your brand online workshop is now open for registration.  click here for all of the details.