Bigger is not always better – at least when it comes to a brand’s social media following.
In fact, when it comes to Facebook, brands should focus on acquiring active “Superfans” rather than a larger quantity of fans. A recent study from Napkin Labs, which monitored fan engagement across 52 Facebook Brand Pages that each had between 200,000 and 1,000,000 fans, found that only 6 percent of the more than 31.7 million analyzed fans actually engaged with a brand’s Facebook content.
This means that increasing your fanbase does not necessarily correlate to a boost in fan engagement. For example, the study showed that brand pages with more than 900,000-1,000,000 fans had 60 percent less engagement than brand pages with 500,000-600,000 fans – which is why brands should focus on providing their Superfans with a better social media experience.
Superfans are defined as a brand's top 20 most engaged fans. The reason these fans are valuable is because the engagement of one Superfan is equal to that of 75 fans – meaning that although brands work hard to build a big fanbase, only a small fraction of those fans are active on their Timelines and influential to other social media users. This is important to note because the study found that Superfans influence how much other fans interact. For instance, the top 10 most engaged Superfans received 2.3 times more Likes and 1.8 times more comments than less active Superfans.
"Superfans are vitally important to telling a brand's story," said Riley Gibson, co-founder CEO of Napkin Labs. "These numbers show that brand marketers need to focus less on the volume of fans and more on engaging the fans that they have. Involving engaged fans in richer experiences rather than just pushing messages is one key way to keep communities active and interested."
In order to build a community of Superfans, brands should encourage their fans to engage with posts as well as avoid superficial interactions, such as posting too many promotional messages and offers. Additionally, brands should show appreciation to their Superfans by offering them special incentives or rewards.