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What Social Media Managers Can Learn from Stan Culture


By Dante Nicholas

Updated on May 24, 2022

7 minute read

"Stans" are the Internet’s most engaged fans — here's what social media managers can learn from them.

Published May 24, 2022

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

Ariana Grande has the Arianators. BTS has its BTS Army. Beyonce has the Beyhive. Taylor Swift has the Swifties. Even Marvel’s biggest superheroes have their own “stans.” 

In today’s pop culture-focused society, having ultra-dedicated fans is a sign of social media supremacy for celebrities, sports teams, movie franchises, beauty brands, and beyond. 

For many, stan accounts are nothing more than obsessive fan accounts.

But in reality, stans are an instrumental part of the Internet — and their influence (and impact) shouldn’t be ignored. 

We're breaking down stan culture along with four key things social media managers can learn.

What Is a “Stan” on Social Media? 

On social media, stan accounts are usually dedicated to celebrity culture.  

Take Harry Styles for example. Not only does he have stan accounts that idolize him as a musician, but he has stan accounts dedicated to the clothes that he wears

The term “stan” came into popular culture in 2000, with Eminem’s song “Stan” featuring Dido, which details a story about an overly dedicated fan who turns out to be a stalker (stalker + fan = stan). 

Over the past two decades, the term has been adopted by the most dedicated celebrity fans on social media platforms. 

While stan accounts may seem like a trivial part of pop culture, they can have a huge influence on what makes it into the top 10.

For savvy musicians, stan accounts are an important marketing outlet.

And their impact should not be overlooked.

@USBTSARMY, for example, is one of thousands of stans pages for the K-pop group BTS, and has over 700K followers.

In 2021, BTS’ global “army” strategized to get 6 singles at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in a single year — the most since The Beatles.

The takeaway? Stan accounts can be big, big business.

FYI: With Later's social media scheduling tools, you can plan and schedule your posts in advance — for free.

What We Can Learn From Stan Culture on Social Media

Having thousands of dedicated fan accounts helping to spread your message across the globe may seem out-of-reach, but here are a few fundamental principles that can be taken away from stan culture on social media:

  1. Put Your Audience (And Their Interests) First  

  2. Community Lives in the Comments

  3. Create Relatable Memes For Your Community

  4. Tap Into Your Community's Language

#1: Put Your Audience (And Their Interests) First 

The #1 thing we should learn from stan accounts? Put your audience first. 

While it's important to prioritize content that helps achieve business KPIs — like increasing web traffic or raising brand awareness — if you're not thinking about what your audience wants, it won't deliver results.

Stan accounts are all about tapping into a shared interest, so if you're a social media manager, consider what your audience would find helpful or entertaining in relation to your product or service.    

At Later, for example, we share lots of video tutorials about content creation — it’s valuable to our audience and relevant to our social media scheduling products.

By putting your audience first, you allow them to feel a sense of importance within your brand’s ecosystem; like they’re a part of something bigger than a purchase transaction. 

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#2: Community Lives In the Comments

The second major thing that we can learn from stan culture? Interacting with your followers is key. 

The stan community thrives from interactions with their respective “fave.” When one Swiftie receives a like from Taylor Swift on TikTok, the overall standom feels like they’ve won. 

Many brands skip engaging with their followers unless done in a “customer service” type of way, since it may not lead to an immediate KPI increase. But, engaging with your followers shouldn’t be overlooked. 

innocent drinks replies to tweets on Twitter

The more interaction you have with your followers, the deeper that fan relationship becomes.

And the deeper that fan relationship becomes, the more likely they are to become ambassadors or brand evangelists – people who will tell their friends, family, and followers about the brand. 

Scrub Daddy's TikTok followers love the brand not just for their content but because their social team frequently responds to comments on their posts. 

Scrub Daddy responding to TikTok comments

If you have followers that consistently engage with your posts or tag you in their content, consider rewarding them for their support.

Whether it’s in the form of a promo code, gift card, or even just a personal thank message via DM — that acknowledgment can go a long way. 

TIP: Struggling to stay on top of your comments? Later’s Conversations feature shows your most recent Instagram comments, so you can read and reply right on your desktop.

#3: Create Relatable Memes For Your Community

Stans understand the power of memes and frequently create those they know will be appreciated by other members in their community:

Memes work so well because they're highly shareable, relatable, and can help humanize your brand — especially when you jump on a trendy moment:

When creating memes for your audience, consider the type of content they already love, and keep an eye on what's happening in pop-culture.

Are there any meme opportunities you can jump on?

They don't have to be overly complex either. Straightforward and to the point usually works best.

For example, Cocokind frequently uses memes to promote their skincare products and spark engagement:

Memes are a driving force behind stan culture and can be super beneficial to your content strategy — no matter your niche.

#4: Tap Into Your Community’s Language

One of the biggest takeaways from stan culture on social media is knowing how to talk to your most dedicated followers. 

Rather than sounding like a corporate robot, tap into how your followers speak.

Do they like using certain emojis?

Are there acronyms (e.g. IYKYK, FWIW, POV) that they’d know right off the bat?

Take rapper Lil Nas X, for example, who communicates with his stans using humor they'd understand and feels authentic to his brand:

However, it's important to keep your brand voice in mind too.

Depending on your brand, you may not want to sound exactly like your "stans" or followers, but can be flexible depending on the platform.

For example, on TikTok or Twitter you might be more casual than you are on Facebook.

FentySkin isn’t afraid to use emojis and informal punctuation in their Tweets because they understand their target audience and how they’d communicate in their everyday:

Having a solid understanding of who your followers are (and how they speak) will help inform your content and how you market to them.

Stan Culture on Social Media: Final Thoughts 

If there’s one thing for you to takeaway, it’s the power of community

Stan culture has successfully tapped into the importance of feeling connected to others over a shared interest.

When creating content for your brand, remember to keep your target audience in mind:

  • What would they find relatable or valuable?

  • What are their painpoints?

  • How do they talk?

  • How can we create a sense of community?

Acknowledging and connecting with your most dedicated supporters will not only deepen those relationships, but will help strengthen their brand loyalty and advocacy in the long term.

Later is a social media scheduling platform trusted by 4M+ brands and creators. Plan your posts in advance and publish them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn — it’s free!

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

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