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Amanda Palmer’s Colourful Community

Written by: Sabine Hoffmann January 23, 2015  

Having your very own community which is eager to part with its money, ready and waiting to participate in surveys, offers insights without being asked and produces vast amounts of content: it’s the dream of any company. Utopia? No – the result of years of careful cultivation.

In The Art of Asking, Amanda Palmer, rock star and author, doesn’t just describe how she has perfected the art of asking, but also the art of giving – and built up her own fan community by doing so. So what does this “fandom” have to do with the social business of today? Companies, too, can and must use the new social dynamics to involve their customers, strengthen owned communities, and generate lasting business impact.

It’s all about trust!

Palmer writes of years of authentic work, tons of immaterial exchange, and an endless collection of important moments. Thanks not least to social and owned media, it’s now easier than ever for companies to pick up their customers all the way along the consumer journey and create such moments. But the users in the company’s own community don’t just want to be entertained; they want to be cherished, cared for, and above all taken seriously.

With the advice of a professional partner which navigates through the complex issue of community relations, it’s possible to generate strategically valuable insights for this transformation. The ambuzzador team, too, looks forward daily to the challenges that await us in community relations. No matter whether it’s in storytelling, the strategic structuring of owned communities, or community management. As we’ve written in our article about storytelling, our internal seal of quality is that after some 28,000 posts and over 8.3 million chats in 3 years, the ratio of positive to negative in our communities is 10:1!

The art of asking, giving and community building

It should be noted, of course, that these communities aren’t built overnight! Appropriately, Palmer quotes a story a yoga teacher told her illustrating the theme:

“In China, bamboo farmers have always planted baby bamboo shoots deep into the ground. For three years, nothing happens. But the farmers still work, diligently watering the shoot, spreading hay and manure, waiting patiently, even though nothing is sprouting up. They simply have faith. And then, one day, the bamboo shoots up and grows up to thirty feet in a month. It just blasts into the sky.”

The message of the story is that those years of work do pay off: while Amanda Palmer is known first and foremost in Austria for her Darbo Fruchtikus TV ad, internationally she has also proven herself as a blogger, a social media hero (with over 1 million Twitter followers) and the queen of crowdfunding, who has spearheaded one of the most successful kickstarter campaigns in the music business – for her album “Theatre is Evil”, 24,833 supporters donated a total of $1.2 million; even though the campaign target was just $100,000.   Her TED Talk entitled “The Art of Asking”, which the book is based upon, has now been watched by over 3 million people on YouTube.

The next step? No matter whether it’s a matter of tickets for her concerts or selling her new book, Amanda Palmer often acts as an intermediary now, and offers her community a platform for exchange. She’s at an exciting point: despite her making requests such as “Download it!” and “Forward your e-books by mail,” “The Art of Asking” has entered the New York Times bestsellers list within a short time. This is proof of mutual trust – which only works thanks to precise analysis of the community and with a huge amount of empathy.