Debunking Five Misconceptions About Brand Superfans


There are many misconceptions floating around regarding a brand’s Superfans (those individuals that are a cut above an average brand fan or customer). These misperceptions are generally based on an unfair personal bias or a lack of understanding on what – and who – a Superfan is, and can be detrimental to an effective influencer or advocacy marketing campaign.

For the sake of brands everywhere, we’re channeling our inner “Myth Buster” to blow these false impressions out of the water.

Superfans and Why Should You Care About Them

While there’s no one-size-fits-all definition for them, the consensus is that Superfans are individuals that:

  • Regularly engage with your brand on social media
  • Make repeat purchases at a heavier volume than your average customer
  • Recommend your brand to colleagues, friends and family without prompt

Superfans form the core audience of your brand’s advocacy marketing program, influencer marketing campaign, and loyalty programs. These marketing tactics are gaining more attention – and budget – as digital marketers are hit with the double-whammy of lower organic social reach (the organic reach of social posts on Facebook is only 2%) combined with the rising cost of digital advertising (it’s growing 5x faster than inflation according to Adobe).

By leveraging and organizing them, a brand can increase their social reach without spending more money on expensive cost-per-click campaigns.

So, what are these Superfan misconceptions?

Misconception 1: Superfans Don’t Exist (Or They Only Exist for Certain Brands)

When our clients first come on board, they’re often surprised by the number of Superfans their program attracts. It’s typical for us to hear things like, “Who would have thought this many people were into routers?”, or “I thought we only would have around 5 people that liked our candles!”

The bottom line is, most brands tend to underestimate the passion that exists within their core audience group. If you have clients or customers that are making repeat purchases or engaging with most of your social posts, guest what? You have Superfans!

Misconception 2: Superfans Only Share If They Get Rewarded

While prizes and incentives certainly help in driving your them to action, they aren’t the only reason a Superfan would share your content. In fact, studies show that most of their activity is driven by internal motivations.

Your Superfans are each cultivating their own social identity; the cultivation of this identity is what motivates them to share your branded content. A few reasons they cultivate this identity are:

  • To showcase an aspirational or “perfect” lifestyle
  • To provide entertainment to their friends and families
  • To be known as the colleague that is always “in the know”

Brands that understand the motivation of their Superfans and that produce content that aligns with that motivation don’t have to rely on prizes and incentives to garner their support.

Misconception 3: Superfans Don’t Have Large Social Networks

Many brands have the misconception that Superfans only have a hundred or so social fans and if you want to meaningfully leverage someone’s social following, you need to go after a celebrity with 500,000+ followers.

It might surprise you to learn that, through our experience, the average Superfan is connected to around 500 people on their social channels. That means for every one that joins your program, you’re reaching 500 of their friends and family. An advocacy marketing program with 100 Superfans has a reach of 50,000 people. Double that and you’re hitting a network of 100,000 people!

The best part? While brands top out with an organic reach of somewhere between 2-4%, your Superfan’s posts are seen by at least 17% of their network every time they share your content!

Misconception 4: Superfans Don’t Drive Sales

Another misconception we commonly hear is that concentrating marketing efforts on cultivating and organizing brand Superfans aren’t going to produce a measurable impact to the bottom line.

We’re busting this misconception two ways:

Direct Sales: A study by Accenture found that your fans generate between 12-18% more revenue for you then your non-Superfan customers.

Indirect Sales: In addition to buying more from you, fans are one of your most trusted marketing channels. Nielson states that 83% of global respondents say they somewhat or completely trust the recommendations of friends and family. It’s even stronger for B2B companies, where 91% of buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations.

Misconception 5: Superfans Will Share Brand Content Without Being Asked

The last misconception we want to explore is the idea that Superfans will act as Superfans (buying from you, sharing your brand content) on their own all the time. Yes, it’s true they are going to engage with your brand more than a regular fan or customer – that’s what defines them as a Superfan after all.

However, your goal as a marketer is not to get a Superfan to mention your brand one time a year. It’s to create a system that empowers each of them to advocate your brand regularly on their social networks. You need to be constantly engaging with your Superfanbase and asking them to take specific actions – for instance, to share or to like – to ensure you are leveraging them to their full potential.

Pro Tip: By organizing your Superfans into an advocacy marketing program through SocialToaster, you can easily organize, message and empower your Superfans to share your content to their social networks on a regular basis!

Ready to get started leveraging your Superfans? Give us a call, we’re here to help!

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