Facebook Fans: Quality Matters More Than Quantity

By Justin Lafferty 

More Facebook brands are starting to realize that it takes something more than just a sheer mass of likes to gain popularity on the social network. Companies are realizing the power of advocates, or superfans, who regularly share content with their friends and drive engagement. A new study by Napkin Labs, analyzing several well-liked pages, shows that the engagement of one superfan is worth that of roughly 75 regular fans.

Napkin Labs studied fan engagement across 52 Facebook brand pages, which had between 200,000 and 1 million fans. Of the 31.7 million fans who were analyzed over eight weeks, it was found that only 6 percent engaged with the brands’ content. The pages that had more than 900,000 fans had 60 percent less engagement than brand pages with 500,000 to 600,000 fans, showing that having a bunch of fans doesn’t carry much weight unless they’re commenting and sharing.

So how important is it to have fans who are willing to get the conversation going, or talk about the brand? Napkin Labs found that the top 10 most engaged superfans received 2.3 times more likes and 1.8 times more comments than less active superfans.

Napkin Labs CEO Riley Gibson spoke with AllFacebook about the study:

There’s some really interesting things at play, just because of how focused brands are at getting likes. Reading between the lines a bit, it’s interesting that in their pursuit of likes, they often definitely lose perspective on the fans they already have. It’s interesting to just see those fans kind of trailing off as the page gets bigger.

Napkin Labs suggests that brands should avoid superficial interactions, such as promotional messages, sweepstakes, and coupon offers. While these kinds of campaigns are successful ways to gain more likes, most of these people likely won’t interact with the brand after clicking the like button. Brands should provide fans with meaningful opportunities to engage, like encouraging them to share stories about their experiences with the brands or letting them have some input on projects posted to Facebook pages.

Brands should also find out who their superfans are, and then let them know that they’re appreciated, with rewards and privileges.

Readers: How do you discover your brand’s biggest influencers?