3 reasons your brand doesn't have more Facebook fans

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The value of Facebook as a marketing communications channel is now indisputable. Brands are beginning to increase their advertising investment in the platform, some as much as 10 times last year's spend. Additionally, companies are focusing more effort on engaging with their Facebook fan base through constant communication and highly interactive content. At the same time, many other brands are struggling not only with bringing their customer base into the Facebook ecosystem, but also with engaging those fans once they "like" the brand.

Note -- Facebook is now calling fans "connections." Since most of us still haven't latched on to that term, we will refer to these connections as "fans" throughout the rest of this article. And besides, an article entitled "3 reasons your brand doesn't have more Facebook connections" just sounds detached and kinda lame. Moving on...

In almost every instance, brands enter the Facebook world with the expectation of having lots of fans. They see the ratio of fans-to-customers as a method for measuring success. I'm not saying that fans are the only, or even most important, metric for success at Facebook. But it is important for brands to recognize the true power of Facebook lies in its reach. The more people (fans) you have sharing your content at Facebook, the greater your reach. So fans are important. Very important.

It's amazing to see how some big brands have far fewer fans than others. It's not always directly related to the size of the customer base. There are consumer brands like DirecTV with tens of millions of customers -- and less than 100,000 fans. Conversely, there are brands, like Tiffany & Co., that serve a much smaller clientele yet have five times the number of fans. In performing diagnostic evaluations on dozens of Facebook pages, for brands large and small, I have come to find that there are three main reasons why some companies struggle to acquire fans.

Reason 1: Lack of awareness
Many brands fail to generate clear and obvious awareness of their presence at Facebook. The general thinking among many brands has been that by simply placing a button or link to "become a fan" on their website, they have met the requirement for effectively promoting their Facebook page. This is hardly the case. One small Facebook icon at the bottom of your website doesn't cut it anymore.

Brands should market their Facebook page in every available channel they can. This includes their website(s), landing pages, email communications, print communications, advertising creative and any other area where it is appropriate. While you don't want to clobber your customers over the head with the pitch to become a fan, you should integrate a Facebook call-to-action into your overall marketing communications plan.

Social Plugins are also a very important part of connecting your customer base to your Facebook page. As a Facebook user, social plugins let you see what your friends have liked, commented on, or shared on sites across the web. As a brand, social plugins allow your customers to not only connect with you, but also share that connection with their network of friends and family. Customers can become a fan, comment, "like," and recommend your brand and your content without ever leaving your company website. Social plugins can be added to your website with just one line of HTML.

Reason 2: Failure to convert
For most digital marketing professionals, conversion rates are a very important metric. We measure traffic to a landing page, as well as the resulting sales, and are constantly tinkering with content and copy to improve the ratio. Still, most brands aren't looking at visits to their Facebook page and how many new fans are converted from those visits. Marketing your Facebook page is just like marketing one of your products. Conversion is key!

Landing a potential fan on your wall -- which is the default landing spot for all Facebook pages -- creates a missed opportunity for your brand. Facebook allows a page administrator to designate alternative landing tabs for new fans to hit when they visit your page. The best opportunity to maximize fan conversions is by bringing non-fans to your Facebook page by way of a custom landing tab.

Your Facebook landing tab should welcome new visitors and give them a clearly defined call-to-action to become a fan. Landing tabs can be complex or simple. Some offer exclusive content when you become a fan, and others promote a contest or sweepstakes. And some manage to do it all. In each of these cases, landing tabs help increase fan conversions by offering clearly communicated benefits. Landing tabs act as a bridge between the brand and the potential fan. Build a solid bridge and watch the fans cross over in droves.

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Suzanne Vara
Suzanne Vara August 31, 2010 at 4:50 PM


Excellent article. The first and one of the most important points is the fans/connections. In advertising and marketing we tell our clients to go where your audience is and to talk to them and not at them. In this talking to them you are talking the way that they talk. Facebook is trying to get us to talk the way that they talk and not the way that we do. It is fans, and I am sticking to it, as you are.

In traditional advertising it was understood and also adopted that you put your contact info in your ads and marketing materials. For some reason social profiles are not being treated the same way. I am unsure why this is happening as did you think you would create a profile and people would automatically know that you did and would keep you so top of mind that they would search for you? No, letting them know you are there tends to make more sense.

The landing pages - I like to tell people to create a mini website so that when new visitors come they can be greeted in a way that is welcoming and different that repeats.

Your advice: "your company can publish copy and content via your company page and have it distributed to all of your fans by way of their news feeds. Most brands overlook the power of this amazingly simple and highly effective communication tool." is a FB marketing must read strategy.


Michael Vreeken
Michael Vreeken August 31, 2010 at 7:47 AM

landing page does play a great role in visitor conversion.. a great way to build yourself a page is to start with a template. check templates at http://facebook-templates.net/

Clayton Walter
Clayton Walter August 30, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Excellent post! I think one of the biggest problems is social media is often looked upon as its own identity, and in many ways it is, but it's still a tool that should be incorporated into the overall marketing mix. You don't just get a million "connections" by creating a Facebook page — allocate your resources! This is why now we are seeing many large corporations spending their advertising dollars to promote their Facebook and twitter pages instead of their website...