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How Brands Can Leverage Social Media Fandom Culture

Madisyn MacMillan
June 25, 2024
Last Updated On
social media fandom culture blog header

Social media has made fandoms more popular and accessible than ever before. Once upon a time, a person could be a fan of a very niche artist or show that no one around them knows about. With social media, that person now has the ability to find or create their own community with fellow fans all over the world. Because of this, there are now hundreds of thousands of different fandoms with millions of different members.

This is an opportunity that brands are eager to tap into. But how can they do it effectively? Let's explore.

What Does Fandom Mean?

To define fandom, it’s important to know exactly what a fan is first. A fan is a person who admires or is an enthusiast of a certain thing or person, usually a brand or celebrity. A fandom, on the other hand, is the subculture or community built by a group of fans pertaining to a certain topic. Fandoms are prevalent both IRL and on social media, with passionate fans hosting events, dedicating accounts and creating content that solely revolves around their chosen fandom. 

What Are the Most Popular Social Media Fandoms?

As previously mentioned, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of different fandoms worldwide. But which are the most popular? According to Instagram’s 2024 Trend Talk, the most popular fandoms on social media right now are: 

TV Shows

Television and TV shows are some of the most popular pieces of content that gain fans and fandoms. This is due to many reasons but is usually directly related to the subject matter of the show, the characters themselves or the actors and actresses who portray those characters. The most popular TV show fandoms stand the test of time and continue to grow and gain popularity on social media even years or decades after the show has come to an end. Consider Sex and the City, whose finale aired in 2004 — on TikTok, style influencers are still looking for the perfect ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ dress while other creators are discussing Big vs. Aiden 20 years later. Here are some of the most popular TV show fandoms on social media over the years: 

  • Friends.
  • Breaking Bad.
  • Stranger Things.
  • Supernatural.
  • Game of Thrones.
still from breaking bad tiktok screenshot
Image credit: @neon_nz

This clip from Breaking Bad became a trending sound, with many people using the voiceover in TikToks where they acted out the scene. This is a great way for a media and publishing brand to capitalize on a sound’s popularity and revive interest in a show that no longer airs new episodes.

Musicians 

Musicians, bands and artists alike have cultivated some of the most intense fandoms. Whether through their songs and lyrics, personal style, stage presence or longevity in the industry, they have found ways to keep fans hooked year after year with fandoms that cannot be overtaken or quieted down. Many musicians have fandoms that are so strong that they become a deterrent to new or considering fans, as they don’t want to be associated with these groups and types of fans. A few of the musicians with popular fandoms include: 

  • BTS.
  • Taylor Swift.
  • Harry Styles.
  • Beyonce.
  • Sabrina Carpenter.
sabrina carpenter tweet about hitting number one
Image credit: @SabrinaAnnLynn

In this example, Sabrina Carpenter memes herself, sharing an image of her top Billboard chart placement beside an X post describing her second single as a ‘flop’. This is a great way to leverage meme culture and show fans and followers that she has a sense of humor. 

Video Games

Video game players are known for being especially passionate and community-based, so it comes as no surprise that video game-based fandoms are among the most popular right now. With the creation of game-specific lore, the rise in popularity of gaming-centric platforms like Twitch and the constant, robust release schedule of new and existing games, fandoms always have a supply of content to celebrate, share and discuss in many social media forums. These are just a handful of the most popular video gaming fandoms:    

  • Minecraft.
  • Grand Theft Auto.
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF).
  • Fortnite.
  • Zelda.
blonde man playing fortnite in his car
Image credit: @londonlaz

In this example, creator Landon uses the viral ‘Fortnite’ song for a video where he plays Fortnite in his Tesla. Landon’s content isn’t primarily focused on gaming content, making this content and the corresponding audio a perfect match. 

We would be remiss not to mention some additional social media fandoms related to movies, shows, music and gaming, including (but not limited to): 

  • Vampire Diaries.
  • Friday Night Lights.
  • One Tree Hill.
  • The O.C.
  • Gossip Girl.
  • Lana Del Rey.
  • Doctor Who.
  • Star Wars. 
  • Twilight.
  • Harry Potter.
  • Billie Eilish.
  • The Last of Us.
  • Law & Order.
  • Ariana Grande.
  • The Office.
  • League of Legends.
  • Stardew Valley.
  • Lady Gaga.
  • Animal Crossing.
  • Overwatch.
  • One Direction.
  • Roblox.

Brands that can identify a connection between their audience and these fandoms can leverage trends, trending moments and more to hone their own brand identity and connect with followers.   

How Brands Are Leveraging Fan Culture 

Many brands have been leveraging social media fandoms and fan culture for years. The most important thing to keep in mind when introducing this tactic into your strategy is making sure it fits and makes sense. You don’t want to leave customers and fans alike scratching their heads when seeing your latest post or campaign. Here are a few brands that have seamlessly integrated fandom culture into their social media marketing strategy recently: 

Kosas and Bridgerton

Kosas is a beauty brand specifically designed and focused on ‘makeup for skincare freaks’. The brand excels in hopping on TikTok trends, using viral TikTok sounds and leaning into fandom culture. With this specific example, Kosas weaves Netflix’s hit show Bridgerton into their messaging by pairing characters of the show with blushes from their new baked blush collection. This strategy uses the hype surrounding Bridgerton’s third season to promote a new product and get users to consider or purchase the blush that matches their favorite character. 

tiktok screenshot from bridgerton tv show
Image credit: @kosas

florence by mills and Billie Eilish

Utilizing fandom culture doesn’t need to be complex and florence by mills nails it in this TikTok example. The brand uses a trending Billie Eilish song ‘BIRDS OF A FEATHER’ to highlight a selection of things from the various florence by mills brands, labelling them as things ‘they’ll love until the day they die’. 

Leveraging the popular Billie Eilish song increases the likelihood that fans will see the content, thereby raising awareness of the various Florence by Mills brands that they might not have known about before encountering the post.

tiktok screenshot of girl posing with pimple stickers on her face
Image credit: @florencebymills

Marc Jacobs and Beabadoobee

Marc Jacob’s latest campaign taps into a number of popular fandoms and influencers who’ve created content in their own style to promote the brand and its products. This specific example below features Beabadoobee sharing an ‘admin reveal’ on the Marc Jacobs TikTok account. An admin reveal is used by many accounts to show the face behind the content. By showcasing Beabadoobee as the admin, it brings a whole new slew of fans to their account and makes them interested in their content.   

beabadoobee for marc jacobs tiktok screenshot
Image credit: @marcjacobs

Discover Who Your Audience Is Fanning Over With Dash Hudson

Knowing who your audience is fanning over is the first step to integrating fandoms and fandom-related content into your strategy. Dash Hudson makes this effortless with the help of Social Listening, a robust tool that helps brands learn more about their audience and dive deeper into what (or who) they’re really interested in or talking about right now. 

Use Dash Hudson’s Vision AI and performance predictions to gain insight into how this new type of content is likely to resonate with your audience, based on the performance of past posts. Keep Community Manager in your back pocket for when you want to engage directly with your followers and gauge their reactions to your sharing of their favorite things.

With Dash Hudson, leave your followers fanning over you

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