Saturday, June 16, 2012

The 5 Main Types of Facebook Fans and How to Encourage Them

Here are the 5 most common types of Facebook fans that we've all seen while managing communities, and how you can tailor your content to keep them.
  1. The Potential Client/Customer
    The potential client or customer is a fan who has heard of your business through something like word of mouth or an advertising campaign, and is intrigued by what you're all about. This type of fan is like a hawk waiting to swoop; the more relevant, interesting, and personal your content, the more likely this fan is to stay on your page and make a purchase - or contact you for business, if you're B2B.

    How to Encourage them: Strike a healthy balance with your content that services their needs/wants with a bit of personality. B2C companies can do things like showcase fan reviews, while B2B companies can showcase in-house talent, or show off a "behind the scenes" look at what the office environment is like. Be fun and approachable, and work on exhibiting a voice that mixes thought leadership with friendliness.

  2. The Friend/Employee
    The friend/employee is someone who has liked your page either because they want to support your business, business venture or work with your company. These fans are dangerous because while they raise the quantitative count of your audience, they qualitatively reduce the value of your audience. Employees and supportive friends are less likely to engage with your content, simply because they typically view the "Like" as the end of their transaction.

    How to Encourage them: The more important piece of this question isn't how to retain them, but how to engage with them. Borrowing a few tactics from pleasing the Potential Customer/Client can help - B2Cs can highlight certain locations that provide excellent service, and B2Bs can make things personal by recognizing individual employees. Since they already have a personal connection, you can play on it and, if it works out, your other fans will enjoy seeing the faces behind the logo talking about things that are happening.

  3. The Sweepstaker
    Did your page feature an exclusive contest recently? If so, it's a pretty safe bet that some of the newbies to your audience simply liked your page so they could have a chance at winning your giveaway. Often, Sweepstakers have a "one and done" mentality, and once the contest is over, may unlike the page and move on. Other times, these fans might forget they've liked your page until an irrelevant piece of content appears in their newsfeeds, and then they'll purge your page. 

    How to Encourage them:
    You may be wondering why you'd want to keep such a specific group of people, but the Sweepstakers are more likely to vocalize their excitement for your promotions, and that's free marketing for your page. Don't just post a contest and then forget about it - support it with content they can like. And, as one contest is winding down, hype up others that may be launching soon, or focus on promotions you have outside of Facebook. Provide exclusive deals, like coupon codes, through posts made on random days to increase the chances they'll stick around.
  4. The Happy Camper
    The Happy Camper is a great fan to have, and most brands see them interact with their Facebook pages regularly. Happy Campers have positive brand sentiments based on great purchases they've made, wonderful customer experiences, and/or childhood memories. If your community is more support-based, they're on your page because they want to come together with other fans to get that feeling of community. They come to your page because your brand or business has already enhanced a part of their lives, and they're passionate about sharing that with you (and other fans) so they get some recognition.

    How to Encourage them: Keep their conversations flowing! Thank them, ask them questions, and respond to them when they take it upon themselves to post content to your Timeline without a call to action. Work conversational posts into your content that ask for opinions that these die-hards will be eager to give. Tease upcoming work or new products/promotions with photos, polls, and links to keep their excitement flowing and, if they ever post really unique content to your wall, ask if you can share it from the brand's voice. People love to be recognized and reinforced.

  5. The Fairweather Friend
    The Fairweather Friend is a fan who may like your brand, its services, or a recent product they've purchased, but isn't driven to shout that from the rooftops. They usually like your page to stay current on brand/business news, or to remember your brand/business for a later date, when they'll be seeking what you have to offer. Unlike the Happy Campers and the Potential Client/Customers, though, they're more likely to leave negative feedback if your brand does something they don't like.

    How to Encourage them: If they leave concerns or comments on your page, address them head-on. Transparency is key. Understand and embrace what makes them different: they're looking for information, so give it to them. Make relevant appeals, and much like you do for the Potential Client/Customer, show the value of your services to encourage engagement and business transactions outside of Facebook.
Of course, a healthy Facebook page that sees an upward trend of engagement and growth combines all of these content pieces into an overarching strategy. 

But, unless you understand who you're speaking to, you may not know where to begin. Use these profiles as a starting point, and then dive into the analytic tools to get a closer look.

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