Between my previous “day job” and promoting my books, I’ve had ample opportunity to make some observations about social media. What I’m about to say has no bases in anythings outside of my own experience, so take it with whatever weight that might mean to you.
In the current age of social media, I believe that at least 99% of professionals, or hopeful professionals, who post anything related to one of their products or projects hopes that it will go viral. In that light, I believe that a major portion of any give fan base (though I won’t hazard a guess at that statistic) also wants the thing they are fanatic about to go viral. Most fanboys/girls secretly, or not so secretly want to be one of the fans that were fans before whatever they were into got so cool that everyone became fans. They want to be the one that got their friends into something. Its one of the chief joys of geekdom to be a forerunner. We feel it gives us a certain level of street cred when we go to conventions and other geek gatherings.
As someone with a very small, but very loyal, following, I hope I will always appreciate these early fans who helped support me while my career is getting of the ground. Without these fans, we artists have nothing to build on. Without us unknowns to break out and take the world by storm, geeks wouldn’t have anyone to say, “I was there when,” about. I think it’s one of the coolest symbiotic relationships in the universe.
Now, I’m going to tell all you early uber fans how to help your pet artists (and by that, I mean anyone creating something you love e.g. comics, books, games, music, movies, TV etc) help those artists grow so that you can say, “Yeah, I was a fan of M Todd Gallowglas before being an M Todd Gallowglas fan was cool.” (I’m using myself in this because it’s my blog, and I’m hoping that someday, my rabid pack of wonderful followers get to feel that way about me.)
Here’s a hint: It’s not the “Like” button. (The “favorite” button on Twitter, or the “+” on Google+)
In sales and marketing, studies show that people buy something (read something, watch something, click on a link) after they’ve been asked to buy, told about it, or seen/heard an ad for it an average of six times. With that in mind, the best way to help get the word out about something you love, is click that “share” button. (Retweet on Twitter.) Then click it again. And again…Etc…ad infintum.
So…geeks, nerds, uber rabid fanatics of the known world… hit that “share” button for the things you love. That way, you can help what you love become cool and mainstream, and you can say more than, “I was a fan before it was cool,” you will get to say, “I helped make that cool.”
For another take on this, read my previous post, A Call to Arms.