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Over the past several years, more and more businesses have been leveraging Facebook as a tool for promoting brand awareness and increasing engagement with current and prospective customers. The goal originally was to go out there and gather as many ‘likes’ as possible for your page. That, essentially, would give you bragging rights to how awesome your business was compared to others who didn’t have nearly as many fans as you (nanny-nanny-boo-boo).
The problem is, over time, good ol’ Facebook has made many, many changes to how business pages work. Specifically, they’ve mucked up the formula for how user engagement works, making it much more complicated. Now, the goal of hoarding fans has shifted to aiming for fewer, much more targeted and therefore valuable followers.
This concept of quality over quantity was supported in a recent study by Napkin Labs, which measured the correlation between number of fans and user engagement. Out of the 52 brand pages studied, it was discovered that those pages with 900,000 to 1 million likes actually saw 60% less engagement than those with fewer fans.
How can that be? Simple. The fans that made up the smaller pages were more valuable. That said, let’s take a look at the 5 types of Facebook fans and the value each of them presents to your business.
Client/Prospect – These, for all intents and purposes, are Facebook gold. These are your bread and butter, your cream of the crop, your…well, you get it. Obviously, you want to have as many of your current customers engaging with you on Facebook as possible, because they give you access to all of their own networks. Likewise, you want your prospects to connect with you because that’s one step closer to getting them to open up their wallets.
To attract this type of fan, make sure you’re offering content that is of value. Figure out what your clients and prospects want and need, and then give them something that solves their problems. Keep it real and be personable.
Employee/Colleague/Friend – These are your “obligatory” fans, because they’re already connected to you or your brand in some way. They may not be valuable in terms of direct new business, but indirectly they’re relevant because they have the potential to get you more prospects via their own networks. Keep these people engaged by connecting with them on a personal level. Showcase extraordinary workers or offer to share info about your colleagues’ endeavors so they’ll do the same.
Brand Ambassador – This is a long-time customer that has a warm and fuzzy feeling about your brand and will usually ‘like’ your page so that they can continue to support and interact with you. These folks are awesome because they’re highly likely to promote and recommend your brand to others, which is basically free marketing for you. And since 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from people they know, this is a big deal. Most brand ambassadors will seek out your page on their own, but you can help tip the scales by including social connect buttons in all of your interactions, such as blog posts and email newsletters.
Fly-By-Nighter – You know the type. They’re so gung-ho about your new product or service that they can’t wait to connect with you on Facebook, but after a few months or so, they’ve already moved on to something else. These fickle fans may stay just because they’re too lazy to click the ‘unfollow’ button, but chances are they’ll disappear at some point. For obvious reasons, these aren’t the kind of fans you should be going out of your way to attract.
One-and-Done – These people show up in droves whenever there’s a contest or special promotion, but once they get what they want, they’re not likely to stick around. They may like your page just to be entered into the sweepstakes you’re running, but once the winner is announced (assuming it isn’t them), they’ll be out the door quicker than Britney Spears’ last marriage (that was a whopping 55 hours for those of you counting). Needless to say, while contests and promos may get more recognition for your brand, the fans you get from them aren’t the ones you should be focusing on.
The clever moniker given to the fans that are considered to be more valuable to a business is “superfans” (I know, creative, right?). The Napkin Labs study referenced earlier showed that superfans received 2.3 times more ‘likes’ and 1.8 times more comments than an average user. This means that not only are these fans more valuable to you in terms of the business they personally bring, but they’re also instrumental in getting other people engaged with your brand as well.
So, yes, when it comes to Facebook fans, quality is way more important than quantity. How can you improve the chances of attracting and retaining more superfans? First of all, keep it real. Avoid superficial or cookie-cutter interactions, but rather show people the personality behind your brand. Provide content that is of value to your audience. Encourage interaction whenever possible by asking questions, requesting feedback and inviting your fans to share their own stories on your page. The more engagement, the more exposure and the better your page will perform.
On a side note, you can also improve your Facebook engagement by strategizing the days and times you post. Here’s a helpful article that provides some information on how to determine what the best time is for you to reach your target audience and get the most out of your social media activities. Put all of this into action, and you’ll be a Facebook superfan magnet in no time.