Facebook Marketing: There’s More to it Than Just Your Fan Count

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One of the trends that I continue to see in the Facebook marketing world are all of the promotions companies are running to get new fans. The most popular strategy to achieve this is to give away discounts/prizes once fan counts reach a certain number. What about your existing fans? Sure they get the reward when you hit your fanmark (get it?), but what’s the benefit of sticking around afterwards? That is where the problem lies Facebook marketing campaigns today.

Just like your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is more than just rankings, successful Facebook marketing is about more than just your fan totals. I think what a lot of us forget about is that this is a form of marketing. The most successful offline marketing campaigns focused on customer engagement, so why are so few companies focusing on that now? What good are all of those fans anyway if they are just going to leave as soon as the campaign is over?

Engaging Your Community – The Right Way

Let me clarify what I mean by “the right way”. There is more than one way to engage your community. In fact, every community is different. What you need to do is find out what “the right way” is for your community. It always helps to have a few examples though, right? So let’s take a look at what I’ve seen work well and what hasn’t.

P.S. Don’t feel like just because you’re not a big company like some of these examples you can’t employ their tactics. You absolutely can. Feel better? Good.

The Coffee Shop Example

The Starbucks Facebook marketing team is doing something right. They have one of the top 20 fan pages on Facebook, and get thousands of “Likes” and comments on all of their wall posts. How are they doing it? They’re talking to their community not at them.

In some cases they aren’t even asking much of their community. They are just trying to start a conversation with them:

Facebook marketing

What they did right: They are getting people to talk about their favorite drinks which accomplishes two things – 1) it makes them want to go get their favorite drink; 2) it got people to learn about other great drinks they might enjoy, and it came as a recommendation not a suggestion from Starbucks.

What they did wrong: I’m not crazy about the time of day they posted this update. While I’m sure there are 7 pm coffee drinkers out there, I would have thought they would have gotten more people interested in going out and getting their favorite drink had they posted this in the morning.

The Television Example

Hold on. Don’t skip to the next example, I promise this is relevant. South Park has one of the largest Facebook television communities, and one of their marketing strategies is brilliant in my opinion. South Park uses their page to answer fans FAQs.

Facebook marketing

What they did right: Any company could use this tactic. It’s great because it is a way for you to promote a feature of your product/service without it looking like you’re traditional marketing push. In addition to advertising your product/service, you show your audience that you are listening to them and are trying to solve any problems they are having.

What they did wrong: You have to be careful with this technique because your fan page could turn into a support center, which is something you want to avoid. I’d recommend posting an FAQ once a week and remind fans where they can go to submit any questions they have.

The Restaurant Example

Chili’s is a great example of how to reward your existing online community. They frequently give out gift cards, local sports tickets and Facebook fan only discounts. Around holidays they engage the community by asking them to post their favorite stories related to that holiday in exchange for a reward.

Facebook marketing

What they did right: I love the randomness of their giveaways. Sure you can expect to see one on major holidays, but they also will ask fans to simply post a comment if they want baseball tickets to a particular game that evening. By doing this, they keep their fans coming back. Fans actually want to see updates from them in their Facebook News Feed because they might be giving something away at that time or have a Facebook only product announcement (another cool thing they do!).

What they did wrong: They run these campaigns very well, and I don’t notice anything that I would recommend you do differently. They mix up their giveaways, they keep them random, AND they respond to fan comments of their postings. Bravo.

Parting Thoughts

There are lots of great Facebook marketing examples out there. I realize we don’t all have tens of thousands of dollars to spend each month on promotions and a marketing firm to help us with our Facebook marketing. What I’m trying to communicate with you all is that you can take advantage of these companies by studying what is working for them and what isn’t. Look at their ideas and see if it is applicable to your own fan page.

And remember: it’s not just about getting fans, it’s about keeping them and getting them to engage with you.

Taylor Pratt
Taylor Pratt is the Product Marketing Manager at Raven Internet Marketing Tools. With Raven you can conduct research and analysis, manage link building campaigns, track search engine trends, instantly produce ROI reports for SEO and SMM campaigns, and collaborate with team members with intuitive multi-user features.
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  • http://twitter.com/TheGr8Chalupa Erica Olenski

    This is all great info! However, I do believe there is still something to be said for group size and significant follower bases. Especially for B2B companies, getting participation from followers is sometimes like pulling teeth. It can be very difficult to get the responses you need, aside from “likes” on posts.

    I believe if you have a solid group size, the ability to facilitate those conversations is easier because the chances of having a follower participate increases with the size of the group.

  • SirScrapalot

    The only thing I would warn against is the giveaways. Facebook has pretty explicit guidelines for running promotions on your page, and they are looking to enforce it. Some people in my industry have had their pages deleted with no notice because they were running promotions.

  • http://www.iexposure.com/ Camella — Internet Exposure

    @Erica Olenski — Totally agree with you there on B2B companies and encouraging participation. Working with B2C markets makes Facebook and Twitter marketing efforts so much more robust. A social media contest isn't really the right strategy for engaging a B2B audience most of the time. It may work to build a fan base quickly but retention might become an issue when you stop.

    We try and constantly engage our B2B audience by participating in the conversations happening within our industry and bringing the human side of our agency to life on our Facebook page.

  • http://www.webhostinglogic.com Hippy Hop

    I had seen fan pages with millions of fans but have got little interaction from its fans. That just shows how low quality their fans are. It is true, you don’t need a lot of fans but the fan quality is more important. You don’t want your post to be lonely out there don’t you?

  • http://www.emarketing-egypt.com Waleed

    Nice Article

  • http://www.mcgarrellreilly.ie McGarrell Reilly

    I find it is very hard to get right ppl on my facebook page, maybe because we are property developer…..

    • http://www.cabomarinakelina.com Kelina

      So are we. I think the idea of a Q: and A: post once a week could work really well. I am asking our sales agents what is some of the most common questions they get from their clients and will do something similar to SOUTHPARKS page to get the conversations going.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Claudia-Vandermilt/100001338865932 Claudia Vandermilt

    I'm using some of these techniques in the social media marketing plan I'm discussing later today. Great timing Pratt!

  • http://seo-contentwriter.com/blog Rushab

    staring a conversation and answering the FAQs are really Great ideas. We can use our fan page in an innovative way. These examples really helps.

    Thanks for the info.