One of the reasons comedians struggle to grow their fanbase and use social media is because in order to do it successfully, you have to have a good understanding of the basic psychology of the people you hope will someday become your fans. I’m no psychologist, but there are a few things I’ve learned about what people are looking for that I think are worth keeping in mind as you create and promote your content. Here’s 7 things you should understand about people these days…
1. People Would Rather Discover You, Than Be Told About You
Most people love the idea of finding something cool before the rest of their friends. They like to be the one that knows about all the great new bands, websites, movies, TV shows, or comedians before their friends because that knowledge carries with it some implied social status. If you can make every person that comes across you and your content feel like they’re making a discovery, like they’re on the inside of an exclusive club, they will be more likely to spread the word about you to their friends and more likely to root for you and help you to grow your career. Because the bigger you get, the “cooler” they are for being there first.
2. People Want To Connect With Other People
As the world gets more and more fractured, people spend less time actually connecting with other people. But the desire for those kind of connections actually increases. This is one of the reasons why you’re seeing such a backlash against corporations and a rise in businesses trying to humanize themselves. There’s a reason that Dominoes pizza is showing you the guy responsible for making their chicken in all their new commercials – it’s because they want you to feel like their company is a person and not some abstract business.
In entertainment, this plays out in the way that people want to feel like they actually know you as a person and not just as a performer. If you think about performers with the most rabid fanbases, it’s usually the entertainers that are the most open about who they really are. For example, Howard Stern has been an open book about his life for decades and as a result his fans feel a connection to him that’s probably stronger than to just about any other entertainer on the planet.
3. People Want To Be Your Friend, Not Your Fan
The idea of treating your fans like friends as opposed to fans is a natural extension of the idea of allowing people to connect to you as a person. Obviously, this can only be done within reason, but it’s a good idea to try to address your fans like they’re on your level and to care about them as much as they care about you. Your instincts, based on Hollywood’s old conventional wisdom, may be to position yourself on a pedestal, but you’ll be much better served by trying to relate to your fans on their level.
4. What People Like And What They Share Are Two Different Things
I can’t remember who said it, but I remember hearing somebody explain this concept in a very simple way: Porn is the most viewed content on the Internet, but you don’t see anybody sharing links to it on their Facebook page. The reality is that there’s often a huge difference between what kind of stuff people like and what they share – sometimes those things overlap and sometimes they don’t. As you create content, you should keep this in mind.
5. People Respond To Passion
In everything from business, to politics, to sports, to entertainment, people respond to passion. We are drawn to people who love what they do and whose passion comes across in everything they create.
If you’re a fan of Connected Comedy, I’m guessing it’s in large part because when you read what I write on this site you can sense how passionate I am about the possibilities for comedians to grow and control their own careers. Passion is always enticing and you want to make sure that you get your passion across in everything you do…the more you do, the more people will be drawn to your creations.
6. People Are Bored
We’re living in a world right now where the average person has a lot of time that they don’t know what to do with. Most people work at jobs where they’re spending the majority of their day surfing the web, or they’re out of work and just killing time at home “job hunting.” There’s a reason that 62 million people are playing Farmville on Facebook and that reason is primarily because they’re bored.
It may be a sad commentary about our world at the moment, but most people are pretty bored and they’re looking for ways to entertain themselves every day. This actually presents a huge opportunity for you if you’re willing to put in the work to create something that will give them an antidote to their boredom.
7. People Love An Underdog
One of the most common mistakes I see up and coming comedians make is that they’re in a rush to try to make themselves seem more established than they are. First of all, it doesn’t work because audiences are smarter than you think and they can usually tell exactly where you’re at with your career despite your best efforts. But more importantly, it flies in the face of the fact that people love an underdog.
Don’t be afraid to be honest about where you’re at in your career and to invite people to root for you to grow and succeed. You’ll be surprised to find that people will respond well to your honesty and possibly be inspired by your dream much more so than they will think less of you for not being as established as others pretend to be. It sounds cheesy, but why be Apollo Creed when you can be Rocky?