Ep 181 | How K-Pop Can Help You Build Community

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Kpop is all over my household. I'm constantly amazed at how they keep their fans engaged and extremely loyal. I have witnessed so many different Kpop groups come into our household and am really impressed with the marketing engine they have. 

How does this relate to nonprofits? Building community is a huge part of Kpops' success. That isn't anything unique…building community with your donors and making them the center of your organization can really help with retention and bringing new people into your organization!

I brought my daughter in for this episode to share what it is about the community Kpop provides that keeps her coming back over and over.

What you'll learn:

→ how Kpop engages with their fans.
→ ways they release their content to keep people hooked.
→ fun content ideas.

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[3:47] What keeps people coming back? They have a variety of content that comes out. They go live often, talk with their fans and create variety shows to show off their personality.
[4:29] Creating a name for their fanbase Having a name for your fans helps them feel more connected to the group. They also celebrate the birthday of the creation of the group giving them more reason to make it about their fan base.
[6:14] Releasing big pieces of content when you have a big launch or release they drip content out over time to keep people building buzz and excited for the big reveal of a new video or album. This also helps to create loyalty.
[13:05] Creating merch Giving people something they can wear, share and promote on your behalf.

We love creating the podcast. If you like what you learned here please give us a tip and help us offset our production costs.

When you leave a review it helps this podcast get in front of other nonprofits that could use the support. If you liked what you heard here, please leave us a review.

Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of the digital marketing therapy podcast. I have a very special guest today, somebody who's never been on my podcast, my daughter, Elinor, she'll be joining me here in a second. But what we're talking about today is Kpop. And I know that doesn't sound like something within the marketing space. But if we think about how they build community and build raving fans, it's really pretty incredible. So today, we're going to talk through kind of what are some of the ways that Kpop has been able to really create raving fans and if you don't know what Kpop is, it's Korean pop music. So think BTS. But it is just really incredible how they build their communities and how they keep people hungry for content, how they keep people engaged, how they keep people buying and connected. And since my daughter is a huge Kpop fan, when I told her this was a topic I was going to be sharing with you on the podcast, she insisted on being my special guest and sharing her insights and wisdom. So I'm really excited to jump into this episode with her.

But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions. So if you're thinking about how can you take what you hear from this episode, and integrate it into either your monthly giving program or just your fundraising program in general, hit me up https://thefirstclick.net/officehours , you can snag some time we can talk through some strategies, and really help you build that community that is going to be shouting your names from the rooftops, and really being super raving fans. Okay, so https://thefirstclick.net/officehours. But let's get into the episode.

[INTRO] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Hey, Elinor, welcome to the podcast. Hello. So I'm excited to have this conversation with you. So I'm gonna ask you some questions. And you give me your candid thoughts. But you've been a kpop fan for how long?

[Elinor Mulhern] Almost two years?

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Has it only been two years? Oh, we hear about it all the time. So it feels longer. And kind of what BTS was one of your first groups that you were interested in, right? But how many other groups now? Are you a fan of?

[Elinor Mulhern] For Yeah. Okay, so we have BTS um, Stray Kids, twice, Seventeen, try together and Enhyphen. Like go through all the companies? Um, Cravity, CIX

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Okay, so a lot. We don't yeah, a lot. And what is it about? Like, when you first started listening to beat to BTS? Was it the music or was it like, what was it that like, really kind of got you in?

[Elinor Mulhern] Okay, so my brother was like, really annoying about it. And you play this one BTS songs over and over and over and over and over again. And I was so frustrated. I was like, can you just like play another song? Um, I think I kind of picked the song that we to like that I first listened to I remember I was in my grandma's room because it was at our uncle's old house. And I was like, oh, BTS just posted a new like Song two weeks ago. So we listened to it. And I was like, one song was actually really good. So that.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So it was the music? And then what do you think kept you coming back for more? Like, why did you Why are you constantly talking about them and thinking about them and having conversations about them?

[Elinor Mulhern] Um, I think there's a lot of things that they put out so there's just as they have like, the variety shows, and then sometimes collaborate with other people are like other companies. And they this app called Weverse and so they can like talk to fans on there and they can go like, these live streams. Mm hmm.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Right because they're, they're all Korean based businesses, so or organization, so they do use other platforms. This would be similar to like if you wanted to do things on Facebook or whatnot.

So one of the things that every single BTS every single kpop group does is they have a name for their community. Right, so BTS is army and Cravity, who's your newest favorite is loving it right? So they all have a name for their fans. And you see this also with like Taylor Swift as a Swifties. Like this is nothing unique to Kpop but I think it's critical because it really builds that sense of community, right? Like BTS celebrates the Army's birthday every year. Right? So the the anniversary of when the army was created, they have a birthday party. So on that day, you walk around saying it's my birthday all day. You

[Elinor Mulhern] Uh, yeah.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So it's that personal connection. I think that's similar to how with your monthly giving programs, having a name and building that community is critical. Now, one thing that they do, like you said is they put out content all the time, and they have a machine behind them, right? Like they have a whole team of people. So I don't want you listening to this thinking, like, you have to be pushing out content. But I think what's critical is the types of content that they're sharing. So, you mentioned a variety show, could you explain kind of what that is?

[Elinor Mulhern] Um, so it's basically just, like, a bunch of episodes, are they playing like a bunch of games, but they could be themed, like, there's this one Cravity Park episode, which is Cravity's variety show. And it was basically like trying to figure out, like, knock someone out. But it was like this, like, big, I don't know what it was. It's like a mascot. It's kind of hard to like, explain, because

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] they're showing their personalities. They're having fun, they're being silly. And these go out pretty much on like, Weverse and or YouTube.

[Elinor Mulhern] Ah, yeah, YouTube, you have, not every single Kpop group is on Weverse. Yeah. 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And then they also do a like, for every video that goes out, it's not just the video, it's also then they do like all the behind the scenes stuff, like, talk a little bit about kind of the content that they share it leading up to like the release of a new song to get people excited.

[Elinor Mulhern] Okay, so it usually is like, a release day, like little cheat kind of thing. Um, it tells you like, when, like, for Cravity, it was like this sheet kind of thing. And it was like concept, photo one comes out of this day, and then the next day, that's a photo too. And then maybe two days later, you get concept photo three, and it usually takes about like, enter 12 days. For the actual release. We have all this stuff that kind of like teases, what the music video might look like. or near the end, when there's low, the music video is about to come out. Some groups do this thing called the highlight melody, where it's all the songs on the album. But like just little snippets of it, do you can kind of like get a little feel about what that sounds like. Yep.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And so we've talked about this a monthly giving about how to kind of offer exclusive content, so dripping out different pieces, like really think creatively and have fun with what your organization does, and how you can maybe like drip out certain things ahead of time. Because what this does is then now it's like she's literally looking at it every single day for the lead up to the launch. And they've given them all of this stuff. So like it's usually a part of our morning conversation. Guess what's coming out today this the concept photo, this, that or the other and then the community itself comes together and has a conversation. So they have a hub where those those the army or levity or whatever can all come together and communicate and they're all talking amongst themselves about oh, did you see this? What do you think about it? What do you think is coming? It's almost like, kind of trying to figure out what's coming before it even comes? Right. Okay, so they have their fan base, they're pushing out content to tease what's coming. What are they doing? Like? How do they keep you so connected?

Because like, one of the things that I think is super interesting is like now BTS is going on hiatus because they're joining the army. How do you think or like, you know, their fans are gonna stay loyal to them. So what is it about them that they've done that like, has you so sunk in that you're gonna literally miss them when they're gone and be so excited when they come back?

[Elinor Mulhern] Um, I think it's like actually spending time with like, fans and like, some artists will like, on random like sprees of just like talking to their fans. It's mainly on Weverse, like, I was trying to play game today. But treasure, which is a group, they kept popping up, and they were just like, responding to a bunch of comments, comments. And I think of like, being able to, like spend time with them, like their fans, is something that like, keeps people from like, these people.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah. So they engage their social. Yeah. Well, and I think that's something that's interesting about like, when you go to a when you watch a Kpop concert, they spend a lot of time during the show, like talking to fans, like they're not just playing the music, like they're talking. They're engaging with fans in their live events, also, and so you know, you have some groups that have seven to 13 members, but you know, what's, what I find fascinating is, my kids can name all of them. like they could sit down and tell you who they are. And let's not forget that the 90% of the content that these artists are putting out is in Korean. It's not even in English, but yet they have fans worldwide. And so I think it's more about the community they've built the way that they engage how they interact, like the language doesn't even matter. Right?

[Elinor Mulhern]  Yeah. Nothing more to say about that. Oh. I also think what like, he's fans, like connected. I think artists, like a lot of artists are like, really? Like, there's a lot of memes going around. There's this one meme of Verdun from 17. is, it was like, he was promoting this big company. It's called, like cheating death or something. And the motto was, kidney function is a right not a privilege, or, yeah. That he said, Can you function is a right not a privilege is silly. Yeah. So I think having those means out, also, like, has fans like connect with each other? Because they can talk about like, oh, did you see his one quote that? Lost it? Like that was really? 

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Yeah, I love that. And I think that building community within your monthly giving program can look like a lot of things. And it's not, you know, not difficult. It could be like your own VIP group or your Facebook group for just your monthly donors. It could be monthly zoom calls, where you get people connected, it could be in persons things, if that's the way that your audience works. I mean, you're obviously not going to have a fan base, how big is army? Like millions upon millions of people, you're not gonna have a fan base that big. I mean, maybe you will, at some point, but probably not. But you can really take these things and distill them down into like, what you can manage and layer them in. So it doesn't mean you need to be pushing out content all the time. But layered in and then remember that like part of what is so great about these Kpop groups is like let's say BTS will put out like a dance rehearsal video, and people will watch it on YouTube, and they'll get all excited. And then their fans will literally cut those videos up and share them on like Tiktok and Instagram and all over the place like BTS doesn't even have to share all their, like much of their stuff, because you all take it. So how can you make it easy for your monthly donors to take bite sized chunks of the content you're already creating? And be and have that megaphone for you? You agree?

[Elinor Mulhern] Yeah.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] And now BTS shows up on my Tik Tok feed all the time. Please, you're right, rightfully deserve anything else that you might want to share about kind of what fun kind of cool things that some of these k pop groups do to engage with their fans know 

[Elinor Mulhern] And mind you, oh, oh, okay. So came up artists they have these cool things called Lightsticks. And you know, they come out every once in a while because there's like different versions ATS I really liked their lightstick but they like change the design. So I think that's like version two. Um, I think that's cool.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So a light stick is literally like It's like it lights up so it's not it's battery powered. But what's interesting is they connect them to you can connect them to an app. So when you don't like all of them will BTS as you can connect to an app so even when they live streamed the concert the even if you were at home, the

[Elinor Mulhern] what are they called? Oh, BTS is is called

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] Oh, so the army bomb, it will literally change color based off of the song that is playing which Oh, didn't do it at home. Oh, well when you're at the show. So you've seen this with like, a lot of artists do it with wristbands and things they have like these big light sticks. That looks like a big ball on a black stick. So yeah, that's what I was gonna say is they're selling merch for like, a lot of money. It's not cheap. Their merchants like going to Disney World. Okay, well, hopefully this gave you some things to think about when it comes to how you're building your community how you're building raving fans. Now you'll start to pay attention a little bit more to all of what Kpop is doing. But honestly, when you start to watch and see how it plays out, it's crazy like her phone is blowing up right now and I guarantee you it's all Weaver's notifications 1130

[Elinor Mulhern] So usually when nine o'clock is blowing up, because it's like midnight, this is one way to stop it.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So there's content coming out all the time, but pay attention and then look like they literally had their fans when butter came out. Like the reason why it's streamed so much too is the fans literally watch it over and over and over and that's what helps them break records. And so I want you to not limit yourself and think, you know, think outside the box. Kpop does not speak, most of their songs are not an English, most of them don't speak English, but they have a huge following here in the States, they don't get a ton of radio play. Mostly they're collabs get more radio play, but not a lot of their, their songs. And they still have amazing reach. So it's really not about having to have all of your ducks in a row. But it's about making sure that those that are a part of your community, feel loved on taking care of like they're a part of your crew. And that's how you're going to keep them around and turn them into raving fans. Yeah, yeah.

[Elinor Mulhern] I do remember though, I was driving. Oh, I wasn't driving. You were driving me to theater. And we were listening to radio, and 17 cable and Verdun was talking. And there's just like 17 magazine. So that's who I thought they were talking. I would 17 Beyond here. Um, I wasn't like an insane 17 fan. No, like back then. Now. I know every single one of them. They have 13 members. Anyway, um, and so when Vernon started talking my job like because I knew who he was. My job was like on the floor. Yep. And I heard their English trap darling. Which is good. Go listen to

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] it. Well, okay, so that's what I was gonna say to wrap it up. If people are like, Okay, what's all this Kpop about? What should I listen to? Who do you recommend? They check out? First not BTS. People know, BTS.

[Elinor Mulhern] Um, hello? Everyone only knows like beaches? It's fine. But yes, um, I think 17 All of seven teams albums are like, really good. And they are like, basically self made. Okay, which is cool. Um, stray kids, is I think it's considered like noisy music, if that makes any sense. Um, but all our songs are very unique. I like that. Rabbit Swan remedies your last one crowdy, specifically liberty in our cosmos. That album,

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] okay, perfect. I mean, these guys have this generation of kids buying physical CDs. That's how much they have this community because of what they put into the packaging. Okay. Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I know it's a little bit different than what we normally do. I want to thank my lovely daughter for joining me today on this episode. If you want more of her and her thoughts, you let me know we could bring her back for another episode. She's very opinionated and has lots of good smart things to say. But I'm excited to hear kind of what this gets going in your brain and how this kind of starts to get you thinking about the ways that you build your community.

Please make sure you subscribe, wherever you listen, we have new episodes every Tuesday. And thank you so much for listening to this episode of digital marketing therapy. Check out the show notes at https://thefirstclick.net/181 and we will see you in the next one.


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