Posted January 31, 2011 3:26 pm by with 1 comment

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Coca-Cola has 19.8 million Facebook fans many of whom they’ve cultivated with a year-long social media campaign called Expedition 206. That’s all well and good for my favorite soft drink company, but what about the gourmet cupcake bakery or the coffee shop that’s not Starbucks?

According to eMarketer, companies, which I take to mean brand names, only make up 6% of the fan pages on Facebook. where as local businesses make up 17.6% of the pages, the most populated category on the chart. But while there may be more than twice as many local business pages, you can bet that the total followers don’t add up that way.

The top ten brands combined, have a total of over 100 million fans. I’d bet that if you added up the fans of the top ten local business pages, the number wouldn’t even come close. But does it matter? Rosie’s Coffee Shack in Seattle will never have the same number of fans as Starbucks, but that doesn’t mean she can’t benefit from a well-maintained Facebook page.

Alexandra Wheeler, director of digital strategy for Starbucks had this to say:

“It’s about making sure that we do our job every day to give those fans some sort of meaningful value. Having 10 million people on Facebook who like us would be useless if we did nothing with it.”

That applies to everyone on Facebook. Big brand or a local business, fans will follow you if you engage with them in a meaningful way. What’s meaningful? That depends on your business. If you’re a garden shop, it might mean offering tips for better blooms. Musicians might offer free song downloads and don’t underestimate the value of entertainment. Facebookers love games and trivia.

When striving for social media success, it’s good to take a look at what the big boys are doing but don’t feel you have to hit a million fans to be declared a winner. If one fan recommends your business to his friends on Facebook, then you’ve done a good job. Then all you have to do is keep up the good work, week after week after week.

  • cory

    I couldn’t agree more with you in regards to value = success. Whenever I’m using any type of media, apps, reading, writing, ect. I have to feel that what I’m getting out of it is valuable in some way. You may be able to trick some consumers into believing you’re offering value, but most likely those aren’t the clients you want to get or keep.

    The firm that I work for is currently looking for an online branding app to use on facebook and so far we’ve been having a lot of trouble finding one that we would actually want our clients to use. There are so many crappy ones out there with just basic flash and that’s it. Sure it may look cool, but where’s the value?

    We’ve only found one free branding app that we like so far:

    Bottom line, value really is at the core of all marketing strategies. If you’re marketing for a product that’s not that great, it makes the job 100 times harder.

    Thanks, great article!