Want More Facebook Fans or True Advocates of Your Brand?

When consulting with my clients on their Facebook Page analytics, I usually am asked first about the Fan count.  I always ask them why the actual number is the most important issue for them.  I believe that having a true understanding of the actual value of each client’s fans is more important.  The number of Facebook fans your brand can claim is an important number.  However, there are more important issues than the actual number.


The idea that all Facebook fans are created equal is a myth perpetuated by so-called Social Media experts that have found unique ways to capture Fans for their clients.  Because analyzing ROI on social media platforms is in itself challenging, these experts feel that by showing bigger Fan counts on their client’s Facebook page they can justify their pay.  Unfortunately it is pretty easy to get Fans to LIKE a Facebook page (you can even purchase them).  Promotions and contests can drive new Fans, but they may not be of any value, other than demonstrating that the brand has more followers.   The confusion it creates is one reason why social-media channels have yet to achieve the same levels of success as their mobile counterparts.  These marketers are confusing correlation with causality. They believe enticing a person to become a Facebook fan will magically make that individual more likely to spend more on their brand. What comes next is a campaign designed solely to pull in new fans. Big mistake.

That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t strive to build a fan base. Of course we want a bigger market to reach.  Of course we want increased ability to spread our brand through viral channels.  The issue is how to do this in a productive way, and there are no short cuts. Most important, your goal should be to create Advocates for your brand, and not just Fans.

You see, Advocates will not only support your brand on Social Media platforms, they will engage in communication that you post.  They will SHARE your message, your company brand, your mission statement, they will reach new markets and customers that you probably would never have reached…..they will sell you.  There is a vast difference between Fans and Advocates….strive for the latter.

So, how do you do this.  Winning a loyal customer begins with matching a great product or service with a flawless and repeatable customer experience.  When you have your business in order the key to having valuable fans will come through the content you share.  Communicating with your Fans in creative ways is crucial.  The proper mix of content includes marketing and promotion, information about the industry that your Fans want to know, humor, fun facts that are pertinent to the brand and not wasting your Fan’s valuable time, and information about other brands that in some way support you, your industry, etc.  This last area seems to be the hardest for many of my clients to understand.  They often just want to promote themselves, and they don’t understand why we suggest also promoting others.  By doing this you are offering a wider range of information for your Fans / Advocates.

Meeting the needs of the customer puts you in a position to ask them to become a Facebook fan (if they have not already done so themselves). What you are left with is far more valuable than a collection of static people who don’t have a vested interest in your brand.

These fans also can evolve into the ultimate marketing prize — brand advocates who are willing to put their reputation on the line. You will build have an entourage of fans not only espousing your products and services, but also your overall values. That’s hugely valuable when you consider, according to Nielson, that 90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations.

That’s the type of Facebook fan we strive for with our clients!