For celebrities, stars or what have you, social media has been a godsend — a way to connect directly with fans. No gatekeepers, publicists or go-betweens necessary. It has its risks without all the vetting but it’s a way to nurture fans, put out whatever message is desired and grow a community.
s social media has evolved from the major vehicles — YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — new environments have emerged, serving fans in more specific ways as long as they paid for the extras. There’s Patreon and Onlyfans which provide a private one-on-one audience with certain artists and influencers, even models who’ll display just about anything to those who pay.
But who are the fans? Witness Steven whose photo is right here as part of this report. As a local barista, he does his best to connect with his coffee-addicted customers. How does he engage them? Each day he comes in he’s wearing sports paraphernalia of the teams he loves. Now, that’s a fan… He shows commitment.
For those committed souls, the next generation of fan engagement is coming. And Jamel Anderson’s Fanmire — the company he founded where he’s also its CEO — is an expression of that evolution. It not only offers fans some specialized experiences with the stars, celebs and influencers they love to follow, but it also allows fans to interact with each other — as long as they join and pay a nominal monthly charge. The key to Fanmire is not the genre — i.e. whether it be Celtic traditional music aficionados or “Babylon 5” stalwarts — but the size of the fan base. The passionate love of a person, subject or object stirs not only a desire to possess but to interact with others who share a similar passion. That’s what turns various fans into a fandom; it’s a fan base.
Born and bred in Harlem, the 46-year-old entrepreneur had worked in sports marketing and concert promotions before he got the idea for Fanmire in 2013. As he noted, “We‘ve had iterations over the past two years. But I feel as though we haven’t had an ‘official’ launch date yet.”
Moving forward in that direction, the company has already signed Loaded Lux the Battle Rapper who has over 150,000 followers. Steadily building a range of diverse celebrities on the platform, it also has Chris King the comedian and 5th Raikage — the anime commentator. There are also some exciting sports teams in negotiation to be part of the site. Plus discussions are underway to sign on several country music stars.
Fanmire has moved closer to its own full launch by getting former teen icon Tiffany [Darwish] to sign on. (Her cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now” was a #1 chart-topper in 1987). The American singer, songwriter and actress has over 57,000 followers on Twitter.
Then there’s an event coming up that also raises the awareness of Fanmire. Its second Annual Breast Cancer Walk in Central Park will raise money to be donated to non-profit organizations that fight the disease. Scheduled for Sunday, October 23, 2021, the walk begins at West 110th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. As Anderson explained, “We held this walk very successfully last year.”
Among the perks for participating, 50 donors will receive one-of-a-kind custom-created garment/tote bags with Fanmire and Cancer Walk logos on them from Tonia Torrellas’ It’s My Bag company.
For more information, go to: https://fanmire.com/project/walk-for-breast-cancer
Q: Why is this your company’s name and what’s its significance?
JA: Fanmire came from the words Fan and Admiration, as fans admire the people and things they love. I came up with the idea six years ago. We‘ve had iterations over the past two years even though we haven’t had an official launch.
Q: How do you evaluate who qualifies to be the star/celebrity/influencer?
JA: Anyone can have influence, but we care about the quality of character when we look at influencers. Of course, there is a process with an application, tiers, etc.
For example, an influencer with under 99 thousand followers will be considered a tier-2 influencer and an influencer with 100K+ followers will be considered a tier-1 influencer. We’ll accept influencers with 5000+ fans.
Q: How do you define an influencer?
JA: An influencer is anyone who has influence within their craft and with people who love what they do. That can be a chef, writer, mechanic or barber. Jen Atkin, founder of OUAI haircare, is a celebrity stylist whose Instagram gives us major hair inspiration.
Q: What led you to do this?
JA: My passion is for sports and entertainment. I had the opportunity to be a part of the concert experience. During one specific [scenario], I saw Madison Square Garden empty after an event. It was an amazing feeling to be there and I knew this was something most fans don’t get to see, I knew they would value it so I set out to bring fans to these types of exclusive experiences. That sparked Fanmire — Fanmire is about Access.
The perks of joining an influencer’s entourage on Fanmire are rewards such as access to private events, meet-and-greets, and concerts. For example, with one of the new sports teams joining us, there’ll be a drawing held among the paying fans and six winners will get the chance for a private visit in the dugout.
Q: Who are you a fan of?
JA: Right now, I like Saquon Barkley, Floyd Mayweather and Jay Z.
Saquon runs with power, he has a flair for the heroics, and is a downright gritty football player with talent that’s’ close to Barry Sanders, who was an all time great.
Mayweather is one of the best boxers ever born. He is a gifted fighter, an undefeated champion and really transformed the game around business and how boxers are compensated.
Jay Z is the ultimate craftsman with music, a trend setter, lifestyle influencer and a monster businessman.
Q: Are you obsessed with being a fan or an insider?
JA: I won’t say [I’m] obsessed but I enjoy being a fan. I truly respect the gifts and talents that people have and understand the work it often takes to move those talents to another level. There’s nothing like watching people be great at what they do.
Q: Apparently sports were your entry into all this — did you play certain sports?
JA: When I was younger I played basketball and football. I really enjoyed the games but I wasn’t that great. As a kid, when you play a sport, that’s when you first learn teamwork. There’s no embarrassment around your skill set because you’re simply lending to the team goal. That taught me that teamwork translates to real life professionally and personally.
Q: Do you see your concept building from sports and expanding outward?
JA: I would love to connect with even more professional sports teams and top trending influencers in their respective areas.
Q: What categories beyond the obvious of singers, movie stars and famous athletes do you want to reach out to?
JA: Sport is significant but this concept has many different verticals as there are countless types of influencers and interests. Currently, Fanmire has several main points — sports, fashion, beauty, music, art, food, health and wellness.
We have beauty and fashion interest points on Fanmire. We continue to attract influencers through marketing, word-of-mouth and partnerships.
Q: Who else and how do you plan to attract them to Fanmire?
JA: Again, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, when you have influence with an audience, you’re an influencer. So we’re looking for people with quality characters with influence.
Q: Will you make the service available to X-rated stars?
JA: Absolutely not.
Q: Who would you love to see join?
JA: With so many great people out there, it’s hard to answer that question. But once they bring connection, engagement and community, we want them.
Q: In what ways do you feel Fanmire is more effective than established platforms such as Facebook and Instagram?
JA: Great question, this comes up a lot. I think that they are different animals. They are social media platforms and Fanmire is not social media, we are a fan engagement platform.
Q: How do you differentiate your concept from the fan-enhancing sites such as Patreon and Onlyfans?
JA: I totally appreciate this question. While both companies provide great value, the difference is that Fanmire focuses on fan engagement through communities where fans engage with fellow fans and influencers in shared interests.
On Fanmire, through our exclusive entourages, fans can have real connection and communication with influencers. Beyond exclusive content from influencers, Fanmire offers perks to fans including exclusive access to events attended by the influencer. Think of backstage tickets, meet and greets, and album listening parties. And there is no negative or sexual content on Fanmire.
Q: How will you exploit the expanding technology for these kinds of sites?
JA: For Fanmire, being a fan engagement platform means that we are constantly looking for new and innovative technical solutions to bring fans closer to the content, influencers, and stars they love.
Our goal is to deliver connections to fans in a digital, disconnected world. This platform facilitates it as such by incorporating various cloud technologies, industry trends, and integrated technologies. We will continue to evolve as the technologies around us do, and we are excited to bring those improved user experiences to the fans, As we focus on fans, we will be improving their experience and connections.
Q: What are you doing to promote Fanmire and create public awareness?
JA: Various marketing efforts whether that’s social media, other forms of digital advertising, promotional events, sponsorships, and etc.
Q: And what are your current efforts at community building for Fanmire?
JA: Community building is a large part of my life. I spend a lot of my time serving, I am a faith-based person. That same energy, love, and passion are seen in Fanmire. We are “community inside out.” Within Fanmire, we build online communities by providing our platform and outside Fanmire we participate in events that support and help the communities we are a part of. One such event is our second annual Breast Cancer walk in Central Park this October…
Q: Why this particular cause?
JA: About a year ago one of my good friends had two battles that knocked on his door with cancer affecting his wife and mother. He lost his mom in August while his wife had just beat cancer. We did this to honor them and plan to lend as much support in a practical way as we can.
Q: What other efforts are you doing to attract participants and grow Fanmire?
JA: We’re using a range of approaches including grassroots social media marketing plus other forms of digital advertising, promotional events, sponsorships, etc. We’re working on a few campaigns as we speak. Overall we work to ensure that people have great experiences with Fanmire; they then go on to share that with others. What will make the biggest difference is signing stars and influencers who bring Fanmire to their own audiences. I see Fanmire scaling up little by little and then really taking off.
Q: Where do you see Fanmire in two, five or 10 years?
JA: In two years, I see Fanmire as an internationally known fan engagement platform with endless potential to be successful. In five years, we should be profitable and scaling. And in 10 years, we should be going public or being acquired.