For July we read and discussed the book Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans by David Meerman Scott
A fan is someone who has something that interests and engages them, and they interact with others based on the interests: it’s a kind of human connection. Since interactions are so digital and online, people are hungering for interaction with other humans on a true level.
Building connections with like-minded people leads to success and brings joy, and reaching people on something they are interested in can create fans, and that leads to fanocracy. There’s a lot of power behind a fan-centric business. It’s beyond just liking your product or service. In the digital era, you have competition everywhere. It’s important to build relationships with customers. It’s more important than the products and the services that we sell to them.
You want to create a bond with your customers and take interests in things that they love outside of your own product or service. What your customers are fans of can be the foundation of creating your own fanocracy in your business. A genuine interest in your customer leads just from a transactional relationship to creating fans of your business.
There are different ways that you can create a fanocracy. One way is to get close. The degree of separation between people is tied to an emotional reaction. Face-to-face interaction is going to enhance your sense of well-being and purpose.
Personal interaction is what is also going to build fans because it doesn’t have the coldness of an online transactions. Those human interactions and the emotions between people is what helps to build fandoms. One way to build trust with customers is for them to see how you interact with their peers. It leads them to believe it’s going to be the same way as you were going to interact with them and acts as a social proof.
It’s important to step back from your product and services, and instead of forcing your customers to use it or interact with it the way you want, step back and see how your customers are using and interacting with your product. This can result in a fan built culture that you don’t need to create on your own.
Fanocracy is about communal experiences. Individual customers, if they can interact with each other and share with each other how they use your product or service, they can actually help grow the fanocracy more than you trying to grow it on your own as the creator.
When you create a product or service, you can’t control the opinions of those who might buy from you. A way to help create raving fans is with gifts. By giving gifts, you are creating fans and developing fanocracy. And these gifts have to be a free thing that’s not being used for coercion. To do that, you need to create great content or products and give it freely. This can also be done as a charitable act, creating fans through good deeds.
Build a brand identity for your business. That way it’s more than just the product that it sells. When customers take ownership of the brands they love, they become part of the identity of the brand and the brand can also become a type of a status symbol. Brand affinity develops at a relatively young age. So when kids and adults are interacting with brands and they become fans of them, they tend to stay loyal with them as the grow up, which can have long lasting impacts for business. You can try to create a fanocracy using influencers, the best people to champion these ideas are the ones who believe in it the most.
When you develop fans, it reduces the barriers between the buyer and the seller. You want to reduce those barriers so much that your fans feel as though they’re part of a bigger family.
In the modern age, a lot of decisions in business are based on data. If you just look at the data, you lose the human aspect of the interactions between buyers and sellers. This can leave customers feeling like they’re just a number and that they’re not an individual. Your fan-based business needs to be human-centered. You want to grow your curiosity about customers, what they’re interested in, where they go, and what they do. You also need to build trust. With customers always be truthful and consistent in everything you do- your quality, your policies, et cetera, and you can win the trust of your customers.
You also want your employees to be fans. You want them to feel that they are significant in the organization, to be enthusiastic and have passion for what you do. People passionate about what they do and where they work are excited about their work, and they tell others about it. Trust and empower employees to make their own decisions so they feel like they are affecting the direction of the company.
Fan building can’t happen unless you yourself are a fan about something. To be yourself good at what you’re doing, or for your employees to be good at what they’re doing, they have to love what they’re doing. The main goal of building a fanocracy is to make your business personal.
Find the book on Amazon.
Learn more about the author and the book here.