It’s Time To Consider Your Business Super Fan Bubble

It's Time To Consider Your Business Super Fan Bubble

Listen to this episode.

Yesterday we added a page to our website called Podcasters We Love. That page was the latest in a long string of tweaks and adjustments that we’ve made over the last two years. Why did we add the page? From a personal perspective, we love the content produced by everyone on that page. Cynthia, Mike, Ryan and Jason all contribute to our knowledge and thus our ability to produce our own content. To say that in a different way, we’re fans.

No.

We’re super fans.

Business Super Fans

From a business perspective, we know that the goodwill we show them will be reciprocated. We promote them. They promote us. That’s a good thing. Take Ryan Hanley’s Content Warfare which is one of the podcasts that we modeled our podcast after. The other day a fan of The Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast sent us a note to say that she is now listening to Ryan’s show because she heard it mentioned on ours. How cool is that? Just so you know, I can trace a number of people who listen to our show back to appearances I made on Ryan’s show. We are helping each other cultivate new audiences.

A few months ago, I interviewed Ryan on the Nuclear Chowder Marketing Podcast (I was guest hosting for Mike Brooks. Well, ok, I podjacked the episode). I asked Ryan, who was working on completing the first few chapters of his first book The Content Warfare Book, how he was going to break beyond the super fan bubble. I’m not going to give you the answer here because I want you to go listen to that interview, but I’m going to give you my perspective.

What Is The Super Fan Bubble?

The super fan bubble is a collection of dedicated and loyal fans. Fans that will not only consume your content but take action on your behalf. They’ll buy your products, listen to your shows, share your tweets. The super fan bubble is great, but it can also be a plateau that slows growth.

The goal of any business endeavor is to continue to grow your audience or customers. So you need to cultivate relationships with the people in your super fan bubble while creating strategies to help you grow the bubble to include more super fans.

What you, Dear Reader, should be focused on is continuously breaking beyond the super fan bubble and creating new, larger super fan bubbles.

Before I get too deep here I should point out that this is true for any business, not just content creators such as podcasters. If you build a loyal base of users, subscribers, shoppers, customers or patrons who love your product or service, eventually you’ll plateau. At that point you may be able to sustain your business with your super fans but if you want to grow your business then you need to use the energy of your super fan bubble to grow and stimulate new fans.

That’s what Ryan and I are doing. Despite having some overlap, we have our own unique super fans. I want to introduce my bubble to him and I want him to introduce his bubble to me. The end result: growth for both of us.

But then what happens when we’ve saturated each other’s bubbles?

That’s where Superhero Alisa Meredith comes in.

She’s the newest podcaster on the block. I’m not supposed to tell you this, but right now Alisa is sitting in a hardend bunker miles underground developing a podcast to help businesses with their marketing. As a friend and guest of our show, I know she’s up to the task.

But as I said, I’m not supposed to tell you that.

Anyway, her podcast (that I’m not supposed to talk about) will start off like every other; with zero listeners. Then she’ll get one, then two and so on. But what if it doesn’t have to start that way for her? What if I went on my show and introduced my super fan bubble to her show? Chances are not everyone in my super fan bubble will become her fans, but I’m willing to bet that enough will that she’ll have some immediate traction. Then she’ll go to work cultivating that bubble and growing it. And then, when she has developed her own super fan bubble, she’ll introduce The Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast to them, adding to the momentum of our bubble.

That’s when this comes back full circle to Ryan. Our new larger super fan bubble can now be directed to Ryan’s great content, helping him grow his super fan bubble.

In the end, we all cooperate, collaborate, share and help each other grow.

But, Wait! What About Competition?

Aren’t Alisa and Mike and Ryan and Jason and Cynthia kind of competitors?

Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t care.

I want us all to win. My success is partially theirs and visa versa.

That’s how we build relationships, and also how we can all contribute to a viable economy.

So what does this mean for you, Dear Business Owner?

It means that you may be able to go beyond sustaining your super fan bubble by embracing your competitors as allies and using goodwill to cultivate a larger super fan bubble. Sure you’ll be helping them too, but there’s lots of business to go around.

Here in the United States it’s looking like the waves of a “bad economy” are receding. That means that there are a lot of businesses out there just waiting to give you their money for your product or service.

Chances are you can’t service everyone, so build a bridge. Build partnerships. Cultivate relationships with the people that you traditionally consider the competition.

I can’t tell you that this model is foolproof, but I can tell you that every business (including my own) that has adopted a “friend” instead of “foe” policy has grown and done better than when they went at it alone.

So don’t just think about your super fan bubble as your own. Think about how you can introduce your super fan bubble to another audience and how you can leverage a relationship with a competitor or vertical to expand both of your super fan bubbles.

There is strength in numbers. But there is also strength in goodwill.

In the words of Dr. Ivan Misner, The founder of Business Networking International, “Givers gain.”

Let me know in the comments about your super fan bubble and how you can cultivate a larger richer super fan bubble for yourself and someone else.

As Ryan would say…

I am Ralph Rivera.

Before you go, give a shout out to Alisa Meredith on Twitter. She’s putting a lot of work into her new podcast that I’m not supposed to be telling you about.

Also, visit ContentWarfareBook.com. I don’t know what else to say except it’s an exceptional work for the modern marketer.

And visit my good friend Mike S. Brooks’ podcast at NuclearChowder.com as well as Cynthia Sanchez at OhSoPinteresting.com.

And no bubble would be complete without Jason T. Wiser and OnTrackTips.com. I’m drinking a cup of coffee out of my On Track Tips mug right this very moment.

I love all of these guys and gals.

I am their super fan.

Ralph M. Rivera
Hi, I'm Ralph! I'm a web developer at Rahvalor Interactive, a creative marketing services company that I founded in 1999 with my wife and business partner Carol Lynn. In January 2012 we created Web.Search.Social as a branded service offering that brings enterprise-level services to small businesses in an affordable way. I'm also founder and CTO of Podcaster's Toolbox, a SaaS platform designed to help podcasters plan, produce and promote their shows. I teach web development at Manhattan College in New York City. Carol Lynn and I are home based near the Jersey shore but we're currently location independent and traveling the country for a year, working and podcasting. I'm also trying to build a flux capacitor, but that's not going as well as the other stuff I do.
Ralph M. Rivera
Ralph M. Rivera
  • Oh my word, Ralph. I got here from Triberr thinking, new task for my top secret podcast is “get on the WSS favorite podcast page.” You’re too much! I love the point about competition. Who cares!?! It really comes down to personality and chemistry (IMHO) and there none of us compete. We’re just us. You, however are an extremely generous soul, and I will find a way to use my super powers to repay you. PS – Lest you think I’m a self-proclaimed superhero, I want to point out that Vincent Ng insists that I am Wonder Woman, and a Starbucks barrista said to me once (and I quote), “Wooaaah – Are you a ninja?!”

    • Katherine Kotaw

      SO HAPPY to see your upcoming “secret” podcast so generously announced and promoted here, @AlisaMeredith:disqus! That was truly kind, @ralphmrivera:disqus and made me so happy to see! And yes, who cares about competition when it’s so much more fun to support one another?! HERE HERE!!

      • Right?! Ralph and Caroly Lynn have been “super” generous with their time and experience. Must think of some way to repay them…

        I can’t wait to have you on this podcast, Katherine. Say yes! Say yes! Say yes! 🙂

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    This is fabulous, Ralph!

    But all the names you mentioned are renowned influencers in the marketing industry? How can a complete newbie – with very few, if any, influential friends- start building her ‘fan bubble’?

    Just curious – love your articles

    Thanks
    Kitto

    • Hi Kitto,

      I’ll address your question on Monday on the show if that’s ok. Thanks for writing.

      Ralph

      • Krithika Rangarajan

        Sure, Ralph. Thank you so much 🙂

    • (this was supposed to be a reply, not a stand alone comment – sorry)

      First off, let it be know I am a super fan of yours Kitty! Great to see you here.

      Having watched you grow online over the last year, I would say that you already know the answer.

      Here are some things that you do very well which is how I know that you will be writing an article about your fan bubble soon.

      1) You listen. You use social as a listening tool and you go to where the discussiona are happening instaead of just hunkering down in your social properties with an open for business sign. You are not afraid to knock on doors and ask intelligent questions. Much like you did right here. We see this tip all the time, “Find influencers and get to know them” well there is a right way and a wrong way to do this, one is stalking and being annoying, and the other is being intelligent and useful – like you

      2) You invest in others. I have watched you meet, greet, and nurture which results in cultivation of great connections. People love you because you are real. You are transparent, honest, and outgoing. It is inspiring

      3) You create great content and spark wonderful discussions.

      I want to encourage you to do more of in the coming year is really define your niche and your “product”.

      I absolutely love your mission from your blog, “This blog will be specifically useful for aspiring marketers like me who are trying to muddle through the often-confusing, but always-exciting pathways of Marketing, in general, and Social Media Marketing, in particular.

      But anyone who loves ANYTHING about Marketing can join me in my quest to learn, share….and CARE.”

      There is a vacuum in the content world where bloggers are willing to say, “I am new to this, join me on this journey and let’s share experiences”

      • Krithika Rangarajan

        Jason #hugssss.

        I am EXTREMELY glad to find you here. And thank you for being so kind!!!

        Yes, I need to narrow my niche. My head is bursting because there are so many variations of writing and marketing that interest me. Lol

        BTW, I do the happy dance whenever anyone includes you in their list of favorites #hugssss

        Lovee ya
        Kitto

    • GAH! That’s the problem with our podcast. We have a “don’t talk about it unless it’s on mic” rule 🙂

    • Cynthia_OhSoPinteresting

      Hello Kitto,

      It wasn’t long ago that I was the complete newbie so I know exactly what you mean. I would say what made the biggest difference for me between my first year and the following year when things really striated to grow is that I got out from behind the keyboard. I started attending conferences and local events and this is key… I started talking to people.

      It was pure luck that I sat behind Ralph and Carol Lynn at a conference over a year ago. The first night we met, I ended up riding around New York City with them and Ralph behind the wheel ( What was I thinking?!?!?!) We’ve been in touch ever since.

      They introduced me to Mike Brooks at that event and that day I shared a cab with him and Bryan Kramer! (Shh, don’t tell my mom I got in to a cab with 2 men I never met before) I’ve been on Mike’s podcast and interviewed by Bryan.

      Being out of my comfort zone, open and friendly that one day has led to building that bubble much more quickly than if I stayed behind my desk. I’m happy that bubble formed that day and am thrilled when I can share anything they’ve done.

      • Krithika Rangarajan

        Ooh…those are some fabulous tips, Cynthia. Networking has always scared the bejesus out of me (!!!), but I have learnt that as wonderful as social media can be, nothing can beat a face-to-face conversation. I do need to get out more.

        Thank you so much #hugss

        Kitto

        PS: You are hella gorgeous, by the way!!! Wow

        • Cynthia_OhSoPinteresting

          Kitto,

          It still scares me too. I was just at an event this past week full of startups and investors. I wandered around the room for a while getting frustrated that I wasn’t talking to anyone. Then, I realized that asking a question or complementing someone is all it really takes to get a conversation going. I had to get over myself.

          Thanks a bunch for your kind words, you’re makin’ me blush 🙂

          Cynthia

      • Katherine Kotaw

        I just have to say that this incredibly kind response to my wonderful friend and (talented writer!!) @krithikarangarajan:disqus made my day to see, @Cynthia_OhSoPinteresting:disqus! You have always been a delight to interact with on social media and you always share the best and most Pinteresting tips but this heartfelt reply shows the heart behind your powerful brand in such a beautiful way that I can’t stop smiling. So thank you so very much for that, Cynthia 🙂

        • Cynthia_OhSoPinteresting

          Aww, @katherinekotaw:disqus you just made me smile, thank you!
          If we can’t put our hearts in what we do, then why do it at all?

          • Katherine Kotaw

            So happy to have made you smile, @Cynthia_OhSoPinteresting:disqus! And HERE HERE!! 🙂

    • Hey, Kit! I don’t know if you were including me as an influencer, but just in case – I’m NOT! That said, I have reached out to certain people who are in a tier or two above me in a genuine way and they’ve responded! You come across so warm and genuine online, just be yourself, and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. A real conversation. Also, don’t even bother looking for influencers – just find people you like, who create content and conversations you like. You might be surprised at what happens.

      • Who are these people a tier or two above you?? I beg to differ!

        • Seriously!!! Let’s see, just about everyone!?!! I may have a case of Imposter Syndrome, but I actually think it illustrates the point really well. We are all people who are still learning, enjoying the connections and trying to improve in everything we do. The influencers you want to connect with are the ones who are humble and open. Find them. They will love you. I’m talking to Fred, Kit and Carol Lynn (for the record).

          • Indeed! I think everyone has that syndrome at some point (I remember it being a topic of the Word Carnival!) But I have long since given up trying to communicate with people who are too “important” to communicate back. Or too busy or whatever. There are a LOT of other people who will.

      • Krithika Rangarajan

        Brilliant. You give me hope, Alisa #hugss. And you are ‘top tier’ for me, sweet lady #hugs

        • Aww, you’re too nice, Kit. Let’s make ‘top tier’ about generosity and kindness. 🙂

          • Ok, ok, enough of all this NICENESS, I mean, everyone over here is so happy and kind! What’s the world coming to! Not even one Jell-o fight. (joking….)

          • Like begets like, Carol Lynn. Usually! I nominate your podcast for “most lovable.” Anyone who thinks otherwise can got eat worms. How’s that for vitriol? Too much?

          • oooo Alisa, thems fighting words! :::shudder:::

  • Guest

    First off, let it be know I am a super fan of yours Kitty! Great to see you here.

    Having watched you grow online over the last year, I would say that you already know the answer.

    Here are some things that you do very well which is how I know that you will be writing an article about your fan bubble soon.

    You listen. You use social as a listening tool and you go to where the discussiona are happening instaead of just hunkering down in your social properties with an open for business sign. You are not afraid to knock on doors and ask intelligent questions. Much like you did right here. We see this tip all the time, “Find influencers and get to know them” well there is a right way and a wrong way to do this, one is stalking and being annoying, and the other is being intelligent and useful – like you

    You invest in others. I have watched you meet, greet, and nurture which results in cultivation of great connections. People love you because you are real. You are transparent, honest, and outgoing. It is inspiring
    You create great content and spark wonderful discussions.

    I want to encourage you to do more of in the coming year is really define your niche and your “product”.
    I absolutely love your mission from your blog, “This blog will be specifically useful for aspiring marketers like me who are trying to muddle through the often-confusing, but always-exciting pathways of Marketing, in general, and Social Media Marketing, in particular.

    But anyone who loves ANYTHING about Marketing can join me in my quest to learn, share….and CARE.”

    There is a vacuum in the content world where bloggers are willing to say, “I am new to this, join me on this journey and let’s share experiences”

  • SandyMcD

    The Super Fan Bubble, like some inter galactic bonding of tribes. Ok I’m not that good at science fiction analogies, but I get the concept, love it and want to employ it now.

  • Hmmmm… I wonder who that #superfred was…. lol I feel so special.. Love the idea of the Super Fan Bubble… I will listen to alllll of them… Put you guys on a loop.. There is enough success to go around..