The race for the most fans between Lady Gaga and President Obama was a hot topic earlier this summer, as they ended June neck and neck with more than 9 million fans each. Lady Gaga has since surpassed Obama, with more than 16.5 million fans to her credit (Barack weighing in at 12.8 million).
The race for fans is not limited to celebrities and politicians however; from the corner bakery to Walmart, companies are capitalizing on the power Facebook as well. With more than 500 million active users it is a community that cannot be ignored. But, you already know that, so I won’t bore you with how to create a page or the basic importance of having a presence and growing your brand on Facebook.
That said, have you checked to see how many fans your company or product has on Facebook? Fans are those members of the Facebook community that have either sought out your page and pressed the “become a fan” button or have seen their friends become fans and have done so as well. Fans are consumers, prospective customers, friends of your customers, or people who just like what you have to offer – so much so that they are willing to tell their social network that they are a fan of yours.
What is really interesting is to ask yourself how much is a “Facebook fan” worth to your brand? A report released in June of this year by Syncapse has an answer to that very question.
“The average fan value is $136.38, but it can swing to $270.77 in the best case or go down to $0 in the worst. This is due to the fact that no two fans are alike.”*
While their sample size of only a few thousand might not paint an accurate enough portrait of the 500 million users of Facebook to be able to nail down a dollar figure to communicate worth, I think the Syncapse report highlights some key points that are often overlooked.
One, no two fans are the same; some provide more value than others.
Some fans are more active than others, and are therefore more valuable. The most “valuable” fans are usually the ones that have a more frequent interaction with the company and brand outside of Facebook, who are very loyal, referring often. Do you fan a page only to never give it a second thought? Are there pages you more actively participate on?
It’s a good exercise to think about the pages you like the most and consider what it is about them that is so engaging and keeps you coming back. Once you have identified those features that are most attractive to you, you can begin to brainstorm on how these features can be leveraged by your brand to make your page just as appealing and engaging. There is no shame in taking a good idea (gleaned from another brand’s page) and making it work for your brand.
Not only is it good practice to attract and network to gain more fans but it is important to engage the fans you already have and get them interested in interacting with your page and brand on a regular basis.
Part of a successful marketing and public relations campaign includes paying special attention to the social media conversations taking place with your customers and fans. By strategically planning Facebook wall comments around product launches, events, addressing any positive or negative buzz regarding your product or engaging your fans and asking questions you can gain more insight into what drives people to or from your product. You are starting and joining two-way discussions.
It’s more than just posting, it is connecting brands to their customers, prospective customers, and internal audiences (like employees and investors), creating active relationships and engaging customers in conversation .
Two, Facebook fans are more likely to give recommendations than non-fans, and these recommendations influence product sales.
“On average, Facebook fans were 41% more likely to recommend a product then their non-fan counterparts.”*
This word of mouth communication is important and the Facebook network is a simple way to fan the flame, so to speak, around these word of mouth referrals.
Three, fans report spending more than non-fans.
According to Syncapse’s study, fans reported spending, on average, $71.84 per year more than their non-fan counterparts on the 20 brands observed.
This is just further proof that the relationship you have with your fans is key to maintain as they are directly influencing others on your behalf. Rather than taking an impassive approach to Facebook management, it is of extreme importance to actively begin and participate in the discussions customers are interested in, paying considerable attention to what your fans and others are saying and the tone used.
Your own excitement can help grow your fan base. You show excitement about your brand, which translates to your fans becoming more excited, which their friends will see and want to get in on it too. This growing fan base will recommend to others and so forth and what you will see is increasing brand loyalty which can drive an increase in sales.
“On average, Facebook fans are 28% more likely to continue using a brand than are non-fan consumers.”
With minimal effort and cost-per-person you can easily harness the power of Facebook to your company’s advantage. So get out there and build up your fan base… there are friends to be made!
Look for part two on this topic: The Nitty Gritty of that Facebook Analytics Page.
*Source: Syncapse’s report on THE VALUE OF A FACEBOOK FAN: AN EMPIRICAL REVIEW