The Value of Active Fans

20. August 2016

Having loads of fans on Facebook is great. It makes a statement when a brand or company has a six or, even better, seven-figure number of followers. Experts call this social proof. Proof that everyone can see: we are someone. People follow us. People like us.

However, this does not say anything about the reach of your own (non-sponsored) posts.

What is far more important than the number of fans is the actual interaction you have with them. Because, as all marketing and social media experts know, fans of a Facebook page do not by any means now see all content that is posted there. The reason for this is that in the past few years more and more content has been published on Facebook and user news streams have had to be prioritised. Since then the Facebook algorithm rates every individual piece of content in terms of its relevance for users.

NewsIf you wish to achieve maximum reach on Facebook without paying to boost your posts it is not the number of fans on your page that counts but the number of active fans who voluntarily share your content.

A good example of this is the video on our content idea “Der Mannschaft” (The All-in-One Player). This was published on two different Facebook pages – on the page of the Fußballgold publishing house and on the Bundesliga page. Fußballgold has less than 10,000 viewers. The Bundesliga has more than 2.5 million. Now guess what post generated the most views. It was in fact “Fußballgold”. The reason for this was “shared content”. The little community is more active and shared the ad almost 100 times.

This is logical; the Fußballgold readers are real fans of the publishing house and love its publications. The content was of greater relevance to them.

The positive effect of shareable content is also shown by our campaign for the European Wing Tsun Organisation. This market-leader in self-defence offers Wing Tsun, a Chinese martial art, at over 1000 schools.

At the launch of the feature film “Ip Man 3” (Ip Man was a famous grand master of Wing Tsun in China) we initiated a cooperation between the film distributors and the association with a number of different measures. One of these was a video post on the association’s Facebook page that only had 5000 fans at that time.

Because the video (featuring the Wing Tsun grand master and the association logo in the closing credits) was highly relevant for the target group the video was shared 253 times and reached 100,000 people – twenty times as many fans as the actual page.

This makes the video the most successful posting on the association’s page. The key to its success: shareable content. The video interested the fans and they celebrated it.

For this reason, be critical when somebody presents the number of fans of a Facebook page, Instagram account or subscription numbers of a YouTube channel as the most important KPI. Ask for engagement figures and active fan numbers instead.

How to activate fans and followers? You will find a suggestion here.

André Karkalis is Managing Director at KARKALIS COMMUNICATIONS. Sometimes he writes about topics that move him. Generally, from his armchair in the agency kitchen. This is where his Kitchen Post is created.


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