A Brand's Best Use of Facebook: Engage With the Superfans

Most of Your Fans Are Dormant, but Active Ones Can Spread a Message Virally

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Brands work hard to accumulate fans and connect with a large fan base on Facebook, but studies reveal that only a tiny fraction of those fans are engaging with the product. This is discouraging news. And it raises the question: What should a brand do next?

Brands should be focusing on identifying and activating their top advocates on Facebook, the superfans. These are a powerful species, masters of spreading content virally to households around the globe. Brand evangelists with a fervor, they can motivate into action even those who are typically dormant.

Here are the most important tips for getting the most our of your brand's superfans :

Reward loyalty. Superfans are a brand's most loyal fans. Most brands understand the importance of rewarding repeat customers, and this principle holds true on Facebook. Just as a store might reward loyal customers with early access to sales, brands should reward superfans. Surprising superfans with discount codes or branded SWAG delights them, making them more likely to continue coming back and spreading their viral word about a brand.

Make it mutual. Building a two-way, genuine relationship with superfans can be just as effective at driving repeat engagement as physical rewards. Just as regulars at a restaurant are more likely to return if the manager greets them by name or comes over to their table to say hi, superfans will be more likely to return if a brand acknowledges their repeat presence and constantly engages with them. Brands should go out of their way to build relationships with superfans by responding to their comments, answering their questions immediately and liking or commenting on the content they share.

Ask for their help. Superfans represent a brand's most passionate, dedicated customers, so brands should dedicate extra effort to finding out what these customers like. Invite superfans into experiences where they can openly share ideas and feedback to make the brand better. Most superfans will feel honored by the invitation and eager to help shape the future of a brand they love.

I'm not suggesting that brands ignore the rest of their fans, just that they pay more attention to their superfans. For every dollar or minute a brand dedicates to Facebook, the brand will receive more back from superfans than the average fan. So treat them accordingly.

Riley Gibson is co-founder and CEO of Napkin Labs.
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