At what point does "enough" become "too much"
Is it possible to be too popular?
Maybe not, yet the transition from "pretty good" to “enormously popular’ does take some attention and planning.
Maximillian Kleene, one of my favorite live musicians in Second Life, has so many loyal fans that lately wherever he goes, we (the fans) tend to crash the sim (This is Second Life lingo for an overloaded server when it is kicked offline). Last night, Max tried three different locales, and two of three crashed. So what should Max do? Stop performing? Of course not! Start charging admission? Maybe, though not common practice in Second Life. However, if he is clever, he can come up with a way to treat his fans like royalty, avoid sim crashing, come out of it with a hefty profit and still end up smelling like a rose. What is cool is you can do the same for your own business, even if you are not popular enough (yet) to crash the sims.
What should Max (and you) do to take advantage of his popularity and make his fans happy in the process?
Outsource. In Max’s case, he cannot exactly have a pinch hitter sing for him, it just would not be the same. However, he can hire out someone to do the legwork, say, a Second Life “manager”. He can also hire out a PR person, someone to help with advertising, a fan mail manager, etc. Your business will have a plethora of things you do not care to do. If you are having some success, it may be time to look at letting someone else do some of the lifting. The more you and Max focus on what you do best; the better off your business will be in the long run.
Invitation only events. For Max, a short-term solution might be to send invitations to his favorite fans with an R.S.V.P. to sim locations that may not be able to handle a whole lot of traffic. This way he is rewarding fans, and saving the performance at the same time. You can do a special invitation event also. Online or off, to reward those customers or members of your list, or whatever your base is, just to let them know they are special and that you appreciate them. Gratitude goes a long way.
A way to weed out your list if space is limited is to ask for something in order to be invited. For example, Max could ask fans for a testimonial to be included on his CD cover, and say the first 20 fans to respond would get the VIP invite.
Train volunteers to be your “Scouts”. Have a special organization of your most dedicated fans that are willing to work for you free in exchange for your schwag, such as mp3’s of live events, T-Shirts, special VIP passes, etc. Ask them to do some scouting for you, do some asking around, to find out the best place to position Max, or your product, to make the most effective impact. Here is where good teamwork comes in. A group of people with a common cause can work sheer genius above single-minded folk with similar goals.
Collaborate with others successful in your field. Max could ask other successful Second Life musicians how they deal with sim-crashing. You could team up with peers relatively close to your success level and do some list sharing and cross-promotion. For Max and his JV musicians, they could cross promote to each other’s fans, and even do a joint performance in a sim proven to withstand hordes of fans. A celebration of success, a partnership of the best. Two, even three perhaps, could be a real event. You can get it done and have a blast in the process!
Have a Real Life Concert or event. Take the popularity you have garnished from the web to the street. If Max can get a third as many fans to show up in real life and even charge admission, then he would really be raking in the dough....so would you. Do what you do live and in person and charge admission. No, it is not a new idea, but what you bring to the table is most certainly new. Nobody can do you better than you. Remember to let others help with the stuff you hate and focus on what you love. Real life is the same as virtual life, only it is real!