By: Hannah Stonehouse Hudson
The most successful social media accounts are the ones that find, engage and cultivate their superfans. What’s are “superfans?”
Superfans are the people who comment on and share everything you post. That does not mean your aunt or other relative who share your content because they love you—that’s actually the opposite of what you want. Superfans are the ones who fit your target demographic perfectly. They buy your product, match your page’s topics and interests with their topics and interests and share everything you post to their friends’ feeds, which also match your page’s topics and interests.
Why are superfans so important over the long term? Because the pages that find and engage their core audience of superfans are the most resilient accounts when it comes to serious algorithm changes. As we all know, social media algorithms change constantly, sometimes it seems almost on the hour. The reason the pages with happy superfans consistently outperform pages and accounts without superfans is because social media platforms see these accounts as being of value to the virtual community. When that happens, these platforms share more of their content to fans’ feeds than pages that have less-engaged fans.
Accounts with highly interactive and engaged superfans keep users on the platform. Since the biggest fear of any social media platform is its users going to other platforms—and that means they’re losing ad revenue—they want pages that keep people interacting. The benefit to you? These platforms reward highly engaging pages with increased organic reach regardless of algorithm changes. In other words, they keep showing your content to your fan base no matter what things change in the platform’s background because they want those fans to keep using their platform.
Solve the Problem
There are multiple ways to create and cultivate superfans with content strategy that keeps them coming back for more. My top two: solving problems for your audience and storytelling.
Solving problems for your audience can take the form of written tutorials, video tutorials, answering questions on a post that prompts them to ask you questions or sharing helpful content from other pages. These “problems” you’re solving should be related specifically to the topic of your page and targeted towards your core demographic.
Say, for example, your FFL has a customer base that has a strong contingent of long-range shooters. Most shoot the 6.5 and 6mm Creedmoor, but you’re seeing and hearing conversations about increased interest in converting to 6.5 PRC. Your solution could be providing a side-by-side breakdown of the ballistics, an interview with someone who’s made the change and is shooting better scores and offering handloading classes that focus on perfecting long-range loads (which should, of course, help sell your reloading supplies).
The point of tutorial and problem-solving posts is multi-layered. These types of posts tell Facebook (or any other social media platform) the topics and interests your page is about. This, in turn, tells Facebook what topics your most engaged fans are interested in based on who engages with these posts. These posts then attract friends of your fans who are also interested in this information. Facebook in particular will feed the posts your fans comment on to friends’ feeds if those friends have also demonstrated interests in line with your page’s interest and topic.
In addition to being able to now organically extend your audience reach through problem-solving posts, your page becomes known as an authority in your space. People engage with when they’re looking for an authority on something (long-range shooting cartridges) and they will then, statistically, share more of your content.
How do you find the topics and problems your audience will engage with? Ask them. Flat out ask in a post “How can I help you?” or “What are you most interested in learning from me?” You’ll be surprised by the number of questions you get, and those are the questions that drive your content creation, all the Facebook Live Q&A sessions, video tutorials, written articles— anything that further generates comments and shares.
Everyone Likes a Good Story
The second way to create superfans is to tell stories about the superfans themselves—and you’ll do this while selling at the same time.
Telling the stories about these customers and the products and services they have used can be as simple as sharing testimonials they write themselves. Leupold’s #Leupoldcore campaign is an excellent example of this. It can also be as robust as a hiring a professional media manager to create a campaign in which stories and images are collected and scheduled for regular postings.
No matter which way you do it, campaigns that center around your most engaged superfans, those in your target demographic, invite increased interaction on your page for a variety of reasons. First, people love to be celebrated on social media. The individuals you post about will share those posts and videos which will appear in feeds of the people whose interests are also in line with your page.
“Share this post” is something we ask people to do on social media all the time. But when you’re highlighting a person, one of your superfans, make sure to ask that person to share the post in groups they belong to that also have an interest in your topic.
Sharing to groups is one of the best things you can do to increase a post’s reach. Using the example of the long-range cartridge debate, ask a person you’ve interviewed about the discussion to share the post with their local gun club page, the Precision Rifle Series page, area match pages and other long-range shooting, ammunition and handloading group pages. Because the products or services you highlighted in that interview are in line with your target demographics interests, the posts will show up in the feeds of more of fans and their friends.
By celebrating your superfans through storytelling, you are doing a multitude of things to strengthen your brand’s social-media presence. First, you are showing that you value your customers. Second, you are creating social “proof” around your products and services in being seen as an authority. Third, you are showing people what you sell.
As a professional in the firearm industry, you know that showing people what you sell on social platforms, especially Facebook, can be difficult. This isn’t just because you’re selling firearms and ammunition, which have their own set of restrictions, but more because sales posts get less reach than other content. Remember, Facebook and all the others want you to pay for advertising, so they’re going to throttle the reach of your “Great Stuff for Sale!” post automatically, no matter what you’re selling. And that is exactly why a strategy of showing what you sell by highlighting who buys it is a great way to get engagement on sales posts that might realize far less reach if they generically and directly discussed the sale.
Finding, engaging and cultivating your superfans is perhaps your No. 1 strategy for developing and maintaining long-term social-media success. It not only ensures your page will weather any sudden algorithm changes, it drives your brand to a wealth of potential customers who might not otherwise have known you exist—and that alone is a return on your time investment.
Content originally published on nssf.org.