How to Leverage Your Facebook Fans

You Have Facebook Fans, Now What?
Are you trying to ramp up your brand’s Facebook page? Is your Facebook focus around increasing your fan base? While fans are great, and of course you need a base-line fan base to make anything else you do worthwhile, fans don’t make up the whole puzzle.

You might have used a Facebook promotion or other means to build up your fan base. Now that you have these fans, you should ask the “so what?” question. What is the value of investing in building a fan base?

The answer: Reach, Engagement and Amplification.

Recently, a study was released by comScore as a joint effort with Facebook (one of comScore’s partners). The report, the second in a series called “The Power of Like,” discusses the impact that social media can have on marketing and the power of leveraging your Facebook fan base. At 21 pages, the report is somewhat lengthy, so we’ll discuss what we think are some of the most important insights.

Facebook Reach
How many brand pages do you visit from your personal Facebook account? As the comScore report points out, a majority of users spend most of their time (40%) on their news feed. So how do you make sure you show up there? The report defines fan reach as exposure in the news feed. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what messages will be visible in a given person’s news feed. Although the parts of the algorithm are not known, it is generally assumed that relevance plays a role.

Brands can be more relevant, and therefore be more likely to show up in a user’s news feed, by having customers engage with the brand more. This engagement could be liking content, sharing content, checking-in or commenting. Of course, this is the ultimate goal of using social media. You didn’t start your Facebook page to have it be a one-way street of communication, or at least you shouldn’t have. Think about posting content that will spur engagement. Know your audience, ask questions and host promotions. Calls-to-action can be used in Facebook posts as well.

The report defines engagement as fans interacting with marketing content on a brand page. A study on Facebook fan engagement done by Ad Age reveals that as low as 1% of fans actually engage with a given brand message. But, as both Ad Age and comScore point out, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even a very small amount of engagement can be leveraged by a fan sharing a post with their friends, who then comments on the post, which then shows up on the news feeds of their friends, and then their friends share it to their friends, and, you see where this is going.

Key  point: Don’t be discouraged by low engagement numbers. This leveraging of engagement is amplification.

Amplification is defined in the report as “expanding reach by promoting content to friends of fans through both earned and paid means.” The idea is that if a user shares your content, it could potentially be seen by many more people who are friends of that user. The report uses something called the Amplification Ratio to measure this and found that most brands extend their reach by 50 to 200%. That’s a pretty large number and not something to be overlooked. If you are being smart about what you post, you can increase amplification. It’s a full circle process.

Key Point: Fans lead to reach, which leads to engagement, which leads to amplification, which in turn can further increase your fan base.

Now, Go Leverage Your Facebook Fans!
So the morale of the story is, fans are great to have, but you can be doing so much more for your brand if you leverage your fan base. Create great content to share with and engage your fans. If you put something great out there, people will share it. Don’t be shy about asking for engagement. Ask people directly what they think. If you post a great link on your Facebook page, someone may read it and really enjoy it, but if you don’t ask their opinion, they likely won’t even think to leave a comment or like the post.

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