When I was 9 years old, I mailed four weeks of allowance in with a form from the back of ‘N Sync’s CD leaflet to be part of their fan club. In return, I received an exclusive poster and fan-only newsletters delivered straight to my mailbox. Although these little extras were awesome to my fourth grade self, the simple feeling of being a member made me feel that much closer to the ever-so-hot boy band, and that was the biggest perk of all.
Fast-forward to 2010; the age of the Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. These teen phenomenons are pioneers of a new wave of fan clubs, and these are not ones that involve mailing a form … using mail is so 1998. Instead, they are using social media to reach out to fans and connect directly with them, much like someone in the field of public relations would do to transform their client or brand into their own superstars. And it’s not just teen pop stars connecting with fans through their Tweets. Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Barack Obama are some of the most followed Twitter-ers. And who is that 16 year old I see among those in the top rankings of number of Twitter followers? It’s Justin Bieber, of course. Just 50,000 more followers and his number will surpass Obama’s. By utilizing social media in this age, presidents and pop stars alike can give their fans an all-access pass to their lives just through a single tweet; so much better than a monthly newsletter from ‘N Sync.
Disney Channel sensation Selena Gomez’s career is a perfect example of how social media can turn a teen star into a cyberstar. In February 2009, Gomez launched her Facebook page with 350,000 friends. Fast-forward 19 months and she is approaching 10 million friends. Gomez has more than 3 million followers on Twitter, including fellow pop stars Swift and Bieber, who are also real-life friends and have millions of followers themselves. In the midst of their outrageous schedules, these stars tweet and keep their fans posted on daily happenings, giving them an intimate look into their personal lives. They also use social media to promote new albums, clothing lines, concert tours, movies, and most importantly, themselves, making these teen sensations into self-sustainable and highly marketable powerhouses, and letting anyone, anywhere be a part of their fan club.