I have been thinking about the value of Facebook fans lately, and how they stack up against other types of online and digital marketing payoffs. The problem with getting to an answer to the value of a fan, and what many small business owners face when trying to sort out what square to place their marketing dollars on, is the array of mismatched direction.
Small businesses aren’t very good at increasing their Facebook fan base. So even though they may be following all of the “rules of the Facebook road,” they aren’t seeing much if any return on their effort.
A Bigger Fan Base is Better
Ultralinx posted an article titled The Importance of Having a Fan Base, which included a cool infograph illustrating their point.
With the explosion of Social Media, businesses and brands have found a new way to advertise. Advertising through Social Media has a lot better ROI than most other types of advertising and can help build relationships between businesses and their customers. Building relationships with people fosters loyalty, as a result, loyalty has the potential to increase profit.
According to Ultralinx, the benefits of having a fan base include:
- 50% of small business owners reported that they gained new customers through social media.
- Ning, a social network platform, found that it only takes 20 people to create an online community.
- 64% of Twitter users say they are more likely to buy from a brand if they already follow it. 51% said the same on Facebook.
So, one would think that investing time and money building such a digital platform is the proper direction. And, as with your checkbook balance, bigger is better right?
Wait, Only 1% of Facebook Fans Engage with Brands
Just as we were convinced to start ramping up our digital assault, we read a contradicting article, this from AdAge, that Not Many Fans Are Engaging; What are we to believe?
For a few years now, brands have been touting frothy Facebook “like” numbers as evidence of their social-media acumen. But how many of those fans are actually bothering to take part in conversation with brands?
Not too many, as it turns out.
Slightly more than 1% of fans of the biggest brands on Facebook are actually engaging with the brands, according to a study from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, an Australia-based marketing think tank that counts Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and other major advertisers as its supporters
The point here is that you can find a blog, an article, a video and multiple consultants to support either side of the equation. What is best for your business? It wasn’t long ago that I too was a bit skeptical and thought that Facebook for Business is Overrated. I have changed my mind, but with a qualification, only after you have built a Fan Base large enough to matter. If you aren’t willing to do what it takes to create a space for a “community” to gather around your brand, and grow that to a size large enough to matter then leave your Facebook chips at home. Size really does matter.
We have since placed a disproportionate amount of our marketing resources on that bet and Doubled Down on our Facebook Fan Page for our boutique apartment business. I am glad we did, as it is producing a steady stream of rental leads for us. However, not much of anything happened until we got close to 10,000 Fans. Prior to that, we were mostly talking to ourselves.
That raises another question, What is the Optimal Facebook Fan Base size to see a return?
It has taken some time to build a hearty, Hyper Local Fan Base, and a lot of work, trial and error. Patience was required. And, we didn’t know what the right size was either, until finally we started to experience a sharing of “Likes” and engagement. It has sort of been an obsession around our office for the last 24 months or so, but it looks like it is beginning to create a nice return.
What are your experiences — Especially those of you in small businesses? How many fans did you have before you began to see responses, leads and even sales or conversions? Where was your double down point? Let us know in the comments.