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Your Number of
Facebook Fans Matters
by RYAN GOFF, VP/Director of Social Media Marketing
JAN 07, 2011
Have you ever delivered a speech to an empty room?
What about speaking to a virtually empty room on a daily basis?
Unfortunately, for many brands using social media, that’s exactly what they’re doing – talking to themselves. Too often, companies become complacent with their followings on Facebook, Twitter and the like, and do nothing to grow their networks. As a result, they end up preaching to the same small choir. Over and over again. And, for small businesses, this choir can often be composed of friends and family. This is not, and should not be considered successful social media marketing.
Your number of Facebook fans matter.
They matter because they represent potential. Potential for engagement. Potential traffic to your website. Potential subscribers to your e-newsletter. And, most importantly, potential customers.
The larger your reach (more fans), the greater your potential. It’s the difference between pitching your product to a room of five qualified people vs. pitching to a room full of 5,000 qualified people. [Obviously, this assumes qualified reach, meaning that your Facebook fans are composed of users who fall within your target demo, and were acquired by above-the-board means (Facebook advertising, as an example) – I’ll get to that later.]
I won’t deny that there are other factors that go into driving success through one’s Facebook Page, or any social site (good content, engaging posts, a strong mix of promotional to conversational, etc.). But say you have a network of 100,000 fans and you’re able to convert 5% of your fans to leads (5,000 leads). You’re doing a whole helluva lot better than the company who has 500 fans and a 5% lead rate (25 leads).
Think about this way – if you’re a brick and mortar store, why wouldn’t you want more people to come through your door? Each person that steps across your threshold marks an opportunity for you to sell your product. The same goes in the social media world.
In addition to the number of fans one has, the growth of this fan base is of equal importance. No matter how strong your content is, consumers have a tendency to grow indifferent over time, and may eventually stop producing results. This is just the fickle nature of the Web, and something every online marketer has to deal with. That’s why continually growing your list of qualified subscribers is so important, as it ensures that your social media results won’t suddenly drop off.
As we all know, it’s not just the number of fans, or growth of your fan base that matters; it’s also important how you acquire these subscribers. As previously alluded to, having a Facebook Page of 100,000 fans means nothing if they’re unqualified and aren’t likely to engage or buy.
So the question becomes how do you ensure that your fans are indeed qualified and that your messages mean something to them? Aside from the standard acquisition tactics used by most marketers first entering Facebook (email to existing subscriber list, in-store signage, etc.), Facebook ads have also proven themselves to be an effective means of obtaining a network of qualified followers. They’re inexpensive, and allow you to target based on any number of factors.
Facebook ads make certain that your Page continues to grow, while being populated with those who are most likely to buy from you. There’s a very good reason why large brands on Facebook continue to invest thousands, if not millions of dollars in these social ads – it’s to continually have a new network of people to sell to, relationship with, collect feedback from, etc. And if it wasn’t working, they wouldn’t be doing it.
Once you’ve acquired these fans, it’s absolutely critical that your content is strong, you engage with your subscribers, and that your Page becomes more than just a means of driving the lead.
Social media is not your typical sales tool, and requires that brands invest time and resources into “playing the social media game” with consumers – coming up with content that people want to interact with, monitoring for conversations related to their brand, responding to inquiries or complaints, etc.. If all of your posts tie back to driving that sale, your fans will tune out as quickly as they tuned in.
Engagement shows that you understand the medium and that you’re willing to put forth a real effort in order to drive that sale. It keeps people coming back to your Page, and ensures that your hard work to acquire those qualified fans was worth something.
And this leads me back to my original point…
All too often, we see companies settle within social media. If people are commenting and engaging with their content, they assume that all is well within the world. But they’re missing out on some big opportunities. Opportunities that stem from growth and expansion to new, qualified audiences.
So grow your network. Make sure you acquire those fans before your competition gets to them. And, once you have them, make sure you keep them by giving them the type of content they want to see, interact with and – most importantly – that spurs them to action.