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Topic: Setting up a Fan Club
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Oct 9, 2011 01:07PM)
Today a 7-year old lad asked me if I have a fan club. I've been asked this many times before, and it occurs to me that it may be a good idea to start a "Fan Club". But, I have reservations, and a few questions that I hope some members might be able to help with.
How, exactly, would such a club operate?
How would I maintain a "professional distance" from the kids who sign up?
How much time and effort would I need to put in, to maintain this club?
What would kids expect from such a Fan Club?
Would this actually enhance my career in any way?
Could the whole concept of a "fan club" misfire badly?
It would be wonderful to invite kids to sign up to my fan club, and perhaps have a few online videos, some PDFs, and games for them.....but I am rather reluctant to do this. Of course, it would mean a lot of work, as well as anything else.....
I look forward to reading your opinions....
Doug
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Oct 9, 2011 01:55PM)
It strikes me as a dangerous thing for an individual to be involved in. It leaves you open to the suspicion that you are grooming the kids for unsavoury purposes. That will not, of course, be your intention. But that is one way it can be seen.

Also, to give any sort of value will involve you in a lot of hard work. It might help with repeat business, but I feel there are better ways of investing your time. I would not do this. Fan clubs are for bigger organisations, where the individual at the top can distance themselves from the day to day process.
Message: Posted by: teachersears (Oct 9, 2011 03:55PM)
Isn't fan club a nice way to say mailing list for a regular marketing news letter? Or have I become old and jaded? If you wanted you could include a signed head shot and welcome letter with the first letter. Is that creepy?
Message: Posted by: TomFoolery (Oct 9, 2011 11:45PM)
Instead of a fan club based around say "Potty the Pirate" have one based on one of your puppets.
Free membership to the birthday child.
A badge, membership card and a couple more goodies won't set you back much,
Have a some small presents with you when performing to give to club members when you see them at parties, only is they have the badge or membership card on them,

Because you are a nice guy every one is a member of the club today so everyone gets a copy of the colouring sheet.

I think a fan club can be done so there is nothing sinister about it.

Or even a Facebook fan site (if its good enough for Mr Tumble).

Sorry these are just a few ideas its 6am can't sleep and I wanted to be creative with my time, also left my glasses in the bedroom with my wife so not quite sure what I am typing.
Message: Posted by: Devious (Oct 10, 2011 09:56AM)
If you set up a Fan Club, then you would be "Potty" training them correct?
Sorry, I couldn't resist Potty The Pirate. You have my permission to kill me later.
Have a glorious week folks!
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Oct 10, 2011 10:11AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-09 14:55, TonyB2009 wrote:
It strikes me as a dangerous thing for an individual to be involved in. It leaves you open to the suspicion that you are grooming the kids for unsavoury purposes. That will not, of course, be your intention. But that is one way it can be seen.

Also, to give any sort of value will involve you in a lot of hard work. It might help with repeat business, but I feel there are better ways of investing your time. I would not do this. Fan clubs are for bigger organisations, where the individual at the top can distance themselves from the day to day process.
[/quote]
That was pretty much what I was thinking, Tony. Thanks for your advice. No fan club!
;)
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Oct 10, 2011 07:32PM)
Potty;
You can start a Twitter what am I doing today type of following; easy for you to maintain and they can “tweet” to each other
Message: Posted by: Christopher Lyle (Oct 10, 2011 09:24PM)
I tend to agree with Tony on this one Potty...I think it's a really bad idea. As a parent of two children (and knowing what I know about the world), if a Magician asked me if I would like my children to be part of his Birthday Fan Club or whatever, I'd decline. I think many in the USA would think that something was strange about that...but maybe on your side of the pond it's acceptable so what do I know?

My 2 cents...
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Oct 11, 2011 01:27AM)
I do have a Twitter account, so perhaps that is the way to go. I should really try to "tweet" a bit more!
Message: Posted by: LVMagicAL (Oct 11, 2011 01:59AM)
Not exactly what you're talking about, but Jack Turk sells a program called the "Magic Kids Club" See details here: http://magicmarketingcenter.com/magickidsclub
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Oct 11, 2011 10:11AM)
I've been thinking about a "Learn Magic By Email" type of club. It would have to be geared towards a bit older child, although I'm sure there's lots of tricks a 7-year-old can do. It would also require that everything be sent through the parent's email ("because your parents need to protect you from strange people who send their kids email, and because Daddy gets upset when you fool him and he doesn;t know how!"). Which of course opens a dialog with the parents on a regular basis.

That's my line of thinking, anyway. Haven't had a chance to make much headway with it.

Ed
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 11, 2011 10:30AM)
This is a very dangerous idea. A children's entertainer must establish, and keep an arm's distance relationship with kids from 2 to 22. If you have an internet relationship with children behind the parents back you are only asking for trouble. There are magicians in jail who have crossed this line.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Oct 11, 2011 04:48PM)
I am with Al. If you communicated with my child by internet, I would call to your home and break your legs. Then I'd repoort you to the cops. We all know this; an internet fan club is going to be the kiss of death to anyone's career. I don't think going through the parent's e-mail makes a great difference. This is just a bad idea.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Oct 11, 2011 05:10PM)
Most parents these days have no clue who their child is communicating with over their phone! Their kids are texting, messaging, "chatting" on Facebook, sending photos on messages and emails. And few parents have any idea what's going on until something the kid is ready to run away or worse because they are now a victim of cyber-bullying by someone who should have been a friend.

It may all be perception, but that's a much greater reality than your child being hurt by a magician that you have met in person, who has asked your permission to send you emails that you can forward to or print out and give to your child, who is a known physical person with a family and business reputation to maintain. Yes, bad stuff happens and those we thought we could trust can be the perpertrators. But statistically it's much more common for your child to get violated by a peer than by an adult you know, like, and trust.

And that's why, as I think through this plan that currently exists only in my head, I only go through the parents. I do not communicate with your child except through you. And if you say no, then it's over. I haven't put enough into fleshing it out to bounce it off others for their responses, but that's the next step. And if feedback comes out very negative, then it's a bad idea.

But there are many others who do this type of club with great success and no worries by the parents. I would assume because the performer has gone to great lengths to make themself known, liked, and trusted. And so it would probably only work for certain performers with certain parents. Likely someone even as emminently likeable as Potty would have a difficult time recruiting Tony.

Again, just my thoughts.
Ed
Message: Posted by: Full Effect Steve (Oct 11, 2011 06:52PM)
I tried this a while back. Each month intially I would mail out an Activity Sheet with a coloring sheet, stickers, bookmark, ect. After all of my library and family shows I would have sheets for the parents to fill out and they would be added to my list. It got expensive and time consuming especially once I was over a hundred children on my list. Each month the stamps alone was costing a ton of money for absolutely no return. The people who signed up never actually called to book a show. I moved it to an online fan club where the parent could log in each month and print the activity sheet out themselves and saw no website activity when I check the tracking. After a few months I closed it and now run a Facebook Fan page where parents can post pictures and comment on videos and recent performances I have done. Through the Facebook Fan Page I have booked parties, school shows, library performances, and a local fire department event. Because I update my Facebook Fan Page each time I am headed out to do shows and then pictures and testimonials after performances my Fan Page always has new things being posted and people who have decided to join can see how busy I am and where I have been and where I will be. It takes very little time and costs nothing. Definately worth it to me.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 11, 2011 07:05PM)
Steve
Now that sounds like a good idea. How do library's, schools, and fire houses find your fan club page? I never heard of anybody shopping for entertainment on facebook. I have had people look me up on facebook to check out my pictures, but I have never heard of people shopping for entertainment on facebook.
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Oct 11, 2011 09:28PM)
Thing is, in today's world where kids are totaly compu-literate by age 6, what's to stop a child from making a fan-club / page about you with or without your consent? Do you have any idea how many Justin Beiber fanclubs there are? Do you think ANY of them were started by Justin himself? When youre loved / admired by enough people, you don't need to MAKE a fan-club.....they simply appear on their own. So I'd say most of us (kid's magicians that is) are safe! The only ones I could see this possibly happening to would be Potty, Silly Billy, The Great Zuchhinni, Jolly Roger, and mabye Emazdad & Jay Leslie.

....oh, and uh...ME of course!! :bg:
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Oct 11, 2011 09:46PM)
I had a few new customers from my magician Facebook page, even though it's very basic and I never send people there (I should do more with it). Some people do searches while on facebook for Magicians or whatever, or maybe they found the page via a Google search(Facebook pages do well on Google).
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Oct 12, 2011 07:30AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-11 18:10, Ed_Millis wrote:
It may all be perception, but that's a much greater reality than your child being hurt by a magician that you have met in person, who has asked your permission to send you emails that you can forward to or print out and give to your child, who is a known physical person with a family and business reputation to maintain.
And that's why, as I think through this plan that currently exists only in my head, I only go through the parents. I do not communicate with your child except through you. And if you say no, then it's over. I haven't put enough into fleshing it out to bounce it off others for their responses, but that's the next step. And if feedback comes out very negative, then it's a bad idea.

But there are many others who do this type of club with great success and no worries by the parents. I would assume because the performer has gone to great lengths to make themself known, liked, and trusted.
[/quote]
I worked at a resort with a magician who went to great efforts to be liked and trusted by the parents. He succeeded magnificantly. He collected lots of contact information, and got on great with everyone. The problem was, he was a paedophile.
As part of the grooming process many paedophiles get close to the parents, and win the trust of the entire family. Being in a business that caters to minors, I would have nothing to do with fan clubs. And a magician with a fan club would be a big red flag for me.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 12, 2011 09:09AM)
Tony
Having a facebook fan club page is totally voluntary, and allows you to keep a safe distance from the kids. It never occurred to me that people surf facebook looking for entertainment, so I now have a facebook fan club.

If an entertainer got too chummy with me or my kids a red flag would go up, all parents these days are cautious of strangers. The first thing a predator does is make friends with the parents.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Oct 12, 2011 09:10AM)
[quote]
On 2011-10-11 02:27, Potty the Pirate wrote:
I do have a Twitter account, so perhaps that is the way to go. I should really try to "tweet" a bit more!
[/quote]

If you set up the twitter account with the understanding that you do NOT communicate back to the members, that you only tweet items like where you will performing publicly and the new tricks you are introducing into the show, then allow the kids to communicate with each other without bullying while keeping it positive.

This would also be a good way to keep a pulse on the details of what kids like about the shows you perform
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Oct 12, 2011 09:34AM)
Al, a facebook page is not as creepy as a fan club at all. It is a lot less invasive. I have one myself for my talking dog. But I don't encourage the kids to go on it, or tell them about it. It is just another marketing tool. So many mothers are on facebook it would be foolish not to have a presense there. But I regard it as just an alternative contact point to my website, nothing more.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 12, 2011 09:54AM)
Tony
Traffic on my web site has dropped off, but at every show someone asks me if I'm on facebook. I'm in the process of making my facebook fan page a scrap book that shows me at party's with happy children. There is no room on facebook for text, and no one really reads text anyway.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Oct 12, 2011 06:07PM)
Guys over here are reporting that Facebook works for them too. That is why I put up a page for my dog. I just haven't got around to doing anything with it. But it will be targeted at the mums, not the kids. They are the ones who pay us!

Anyone advertise on Facebook? How does it work for you?
Message: Posted by: Full Effect Steve (Oct 12, 2011 06:27PM)
Hi Al
People can find you on Facebook by running ads on facebook similar to google adwords but for me it's just people who have seen me perform and my business card has the line, "Join me on Facebook at facebook.com/fansofstevewoyce Once they are your "fan" they will get updates and you stay current in their minds because they get use to seeing your posts, pictures, videos, etc. Then, fortunately, when they want to book a magician they contact you through facebook or your site, or just call. It's just one more way to keep them interested in you after they have seen you perform. It's free, easy, and just one more "trick" up our sleeves to get work!
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 12, 2011 08:09PM)
Steve
Thanks, but I don't want to impress my facebook friends. What I'm looking for is people who are surfing facebook for entertainment. My God all of my facebook friends are performers. You have given me some great ideas, and I will be working on my facebook fan page this weekend.
Message: Posted by: soybntree (Oct 13, 2011 01:04PM)
Twitter I feel is a great way to keep in contact for any sort of fan base
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 13, 2011 07:02PM)
I will post some pictures of me making the little kiddies laugh, and some up coming public events for people to see me for free on Facebook. I don't want to keep in touch with anybody. I want them to find me, and to want me. I'm not smart enough, or patient enough to tweet.
Message: Posted by: Full Effect Steve (Oct 13, 2011 07:29PM)
Al, you can add your Facebook Fan Page link on your website as well so when potential customers find your site they can like your fan page too. That way even if they don't book today they will be kept up to date about what you are doing.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 14, 2011 08:23AM)
Steve
You are full of good ideas. Are you a member of SAM 4 in Philly?
Thanks
Message: Posted by: Full Effect Steve (Oct 14, 2011 10:24AM)
Hi Al, no unfortunately I am not. I live in central Jersey and sometimes attend Kidabra Chapter #10.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Oct 14, 2011 10:34AM)
Is that where John Carlson lives?
Message: Posted by: Full Effect Steve (Oct 14, 2011 12:36PM)
John lives about 30 minutes south of me.