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Facebook Fans and Brands: Not a Two-Way Street

”70% of consumers who “FANNED” a brand on Facebook didn’t feel they’d given this company permission to market to them.”

This comes from a 2009 ExactTarget study that was revisited in their latest installment of Subscribers, Fans & Followers. The study says that most users saw “Liking” (as it’s now called) a brand on Facebook as a way to express their personal endorsement. An almost equal number of respondents (40%) said they “like” a brand in order to get discounts and promotions. 36% said they were looking for freebies.

Put the two thoughts together and you get a selfish bunch of Facebookers who want the goodies without having to listen to the pitch in return. This in itself isn’t surprising, as most people wouldn’t willingly sign up to receive daily advertisements if there weren’t a reward in it. But Facebook isn’t like an ad you see on TV or in a magazine. Facebook is about people and connections and developing a relationship – in other words, becoming friends. Friends accept chain emails from friends, they buy candy bars to support their friend’s little league team and they tolerate the invites to the home business sales party. The harsh reality is, that even though 2,000 people have expressed their love for your product by “liking” your fan page on Facebook, they’re not your friends. That means they don’t want you to come over uninvited.

So how do you get invited?

You have to get your brand to sound more like a person. The report states that the major reason people log on to Facebook is to connect with other people. So give them a reason to connect. Some brands do this by setting up charity efforts and competitions. Something as simple as asking fans to come up with a new flavor of ice cream will get people talking.

People also come to Facebook to have fun. Statistics show that 69% of users check in on the weekends and this is prime time for sharing links. 65% say they log on before or after work or school. If your social media person is working only from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, chances are you’re not making the most of your Facebook page. Engage Facebook users with late night games and quirky videos on a Saturday afternoon.

Who’s doing it right? ExactTarget says Oreo is one of the top players and a quick trip to their Facebook page will show you why. The first thing you’ll see is their Fan of the Week widget which directly includes their fans as part of their marketing. They also have games you play, a Pandora link for music, and even their updates are fun and quirky. This recent one liner: ‘Not all Oreo cookies are great swimmers. Who’s had an Oreo sink to the bottom of their milk?” has more than 3,000 comments. It’s deceptively simple.

If you want to learn how to turn Facebook fans into friends, check out the full report from ExactTarget then start thinking about new ways to engage and entertain the visitors to your Facebook page.

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk/ Victoria Blount

    This is an engaging article, i think it definitely takes a strong face book campaign to engage the fans.

    Its not enough just to set up a group and expect followers, a brand page needs to entice the customer with offers and discussions on the product, whilst remaining fun and relevant.

    I think Starbucks are a good example of a brand who have managed to double there followers by adding a promotional coupon to their facebook page, it works well because the brand get followers and the fans get a special offer.

  • http://www.jasonfpeck.com Jason Peck

    100% agree with this line:
    “The harsh reality is, that even though 2,000 people have expressed their love for your product by “liking” your fan page on Facebook, they’re not your friends.”

    Brands still need to focus on building community (on and off their websites), not just a following on social sites.

    • Cynthia

      That’s the hard line, Jason, Following vs Community. There’s a big difference.