My immediate reaction....was utter disappointment. She hadn't included a link in any of her posts, so even though the likes and retweets were rolling in by the hundreds of thousands, there was nothing to connect these fans directly with the video. It was a cool mention, but I doubted it would really lead to any significant growth in our audience. Apparently, Selena knows her fans better than I do, because I was wrong.
The next morning, I received a text from one of my Anima Series partners. Apparently, the video that Selena shared had garnered over 10,000 new views and earned us 500 more subscribers in less than 12 hours. And the numbers were still growing.
I found myself in a bit of shock. Not because of the size of the numbers, but because I was slowly realizing how dedicated Selena's fans were.
I don't know about you, but when someone asks me to watch something online, there better be a direct link to wherever they want me to go, or else I'm moving on to whatever scrolls up next on my news feed. Selena hadn't linked the video directly in any of her posts. That means that over 10,000 of her fans closed out of Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, opened up YouTube, search whatever keywords they could pick up from her post, and then click around until they found the right video.
I may sound like a first-world, spoiled brat, but in today's world where everything from food to clothes to entertainment is just one click away for most people, Selena was basically asking her fans to go on a wild goose chase. And the amazing thing is, they did it.
This is what Kevin Kelly would call, true fans. True fans are the ones who buy the new iPhone the day it comes out, even though it has bugs and is incredibly expensive. True fans are the ones who drive the extra thirty miles to find a theatre that is playing the new indie film their favorite actor is in. True fans will go on an internet scavenger hunt if Selena Gomez tells them to.
The only way to gain these kinds of true fans though, is to build trust. And in order to build trust, we must do generous, vulnerable, honest work and give it to our audience (sometimes even for free).
Is this the kind of work you're willing to do?