Superfans will do just about anything to sing your praises. They'll tattoo their bodieswait in lines for weeks, and basically become a walking billboard for your brand. All they ask for in return is a little love, which is exactly what Apple knows how to offer.

Apple nurtures superfans by acknowledging and embracing the way they integrate the company's line of products into their lives. And in its latest three-minute feature video, The Underdogs, Apple also gives its true superfans a special wink.

Beyond just showing the video's stars using the sanity-saving Do Not Disturb feature and sending a video through AirDrop, Apple added an Easter egg for head-over-heels fans: the round pizza box. Superfans know it's a real thing used and patented by the company.

Slam, meet dunk.

While you might not have legions of devotees like Apple does, you can be sure your brand has attracted some loyalists. Now it's time to find out who they are so you can foster the relationship like crazy.

Who Are the Superfans Behind Your Business?

Maybe you know your brand's superfans. Maybe not. No worries: Superfans are easy to spot. As Brittany Hodak, co-founder of The Superfan Company, explains, "A superfan is a consumer who over-indexes in his or her affinity for a brand, team, entertainer, or property, thereby increasing the chance he or she will advocate on its behalf."

In plain English: Superfans heart you.

Essentially, they're the ones romanticizing your brand. They post online about the way they use your products. They buy whatever you offer as soon as it becomes available, often begging you to release something new just so they can be ahead of the curve. Price? That's of little concern.

True, finding your superfans means keeping your ear to the ground and monitoring social media. You may also unearth them by checking through your customer database: Who always snags your new stuff on day one? A quick investigation will answer the question. For your part, it's time to reciprocate the enthusiasm.

Celebrating and Growing Your Superfan Base

Want to get superfans buzzing and evangelizing? Use these strategies to keep the advocacy flowing.

1. Give superfans the stage.

Do. Not. Ignore. Your. Superfans. Chances are strong they are creating high-quality, totally authentic user-generated content (UGC) right now. Find and repost it as a way of putting them in the limelight. Superfans love to talk about the brands they adore, and you can use their words to enrich your content stream. After all, research shows that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to consider UGC authentic compared to branded content.

It won't surprise you to learn that Instagram is a huge source of UGC. Still, be open to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn campaigns as well. Depending on your marketplace and industry, not to mention user demographics, your superfans might be more heavily concentrated in a venue other than image-focused Instagram. After you figure out which platform reaches the bulk of your superfans, make occasional requests for content, as Apple did with its #ShotoniPhone campaign. Superfans shared willingly, allowing Apple to amplify its reach.

2. Get to know them up close.

Superfans know fake from genuine--and they don't like the former. If you don't know what clicks with your high-engagement audience, collaborate with a partner who does, as Nestle Dreyer's did for its DC Super Hero Ice Cream activation at Comic-Con International in San Diego. The ice cream company worked with DC Entertainment to create superhero-themed treats and comic book pairings. This was an ideal way for Dreyer's to legitimize its Comic-Con presence and tap into an already engaged fanbase.

Experiential activations like this enable brands to evangelize new customer segments and strengthen the super fandom of existing fans, letting them embrace the brand up close and on a more human level. Apple's take on the experiential is evident in its retail style. Its newer "town square" retail spaces, including a Singapore store with an Italian wooden staircase and a D.C. outlet in the renovated Carnegie Library, are meant to focus on education, community, and a humanized tech experience.

3. Win big by thinking small.

Tucked among your superfans are micro- and nanoinfluencers. Though they have fewer followers than macroinfluencers, they pack a wallop. Sarah Clark, CEO of public relations firm Mitchell, appreciates the coziness between micro- and nanoinfluencers and their audiences. "Because microinfluencers have already built high levels of trust with their audience, they've done some of the heavy lifting for you," she explains.

Sure, it might seem counterintuitive to turn to an Instagram influencer with only 2,000 followers instead of the one with a million, but with smaller numbers comes a higher sense of trustworthiness. In addition, micro- and nanoinfluencers usually convey more believability in their posts over blatantly sponsored ones. Ideally, engaging influencers with smaller followings is a way to herald your brand's upper-echelon superfans. And even if you have to endure a little meme-roasting, as Apple did, you can still come out on top.

Go find your superfans. Introduce yourself, and then celebrate their uniqueness as if they were a hot pizza served in a round box.

Published on: May 30, 2019
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