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How many fans are needed to develop a business?

By: Hristo Stoyanov | Date: 02 January 2014

How many fans are needed to develop a business? New article

Fans? So what?

You know jokes like "How many people are needed to screw in a light bulb" The answer is always different and insane.


Almost as in a joke, often the number of  fans and the growth of the fan base confuses business owners because that doesn’t lead to any concrete results.


The reason is that too much attention is being paid to the figure, not to people behind it:

Аre these fans our target audience?

It is naive thinking that all our fans are our target audience of potential customers, but it is good to be true for the most part of them.


In this respect, I always give an example of Ford’s Facebook page, where at one point managers were worried that mostly teenagers were fans of an automobile brand.


However, teenagers are not wealthy enough to buy a car and at first glance they are not the target, but ... here comes the second factor , namely:


If fans are leaders of opinion - Yes !


This is vital so as to turn fans into customers and have your "social currency"! Those from Ford missed one very important point in their analysis of the audience on # Facebook – exactly teenagers are the ones from whom their prosperous parents would seek advice when they are willing to change the family car.


The reason is very simple - every parent knows that their teenage son or daughter has enviable Internet knowledge and  can quickly find a lot of information about every brand and model of a vehicle.


Social managers who maintain the website of  "Ford " created a cult to their brand exactly among this teen mass, which gave a quick and long-term positive reflection on  their sales concerning Facebook.


Speaking of long terms, we come to factor № 3:


Value added by presence on Facebook.

Facebook is not simply fans and sales. Well, in the short term it is exactly  that, but the thing is that there are far more important and long-term business benefits , which, unfortunately, often are being overlooked by business owners .


It comes to online reputation, digital image of the brand, brand evangelism, and the value of "social currency" - all these things don’t attract customers – they attract loyal customers who attract new interested potential customers through their feedback.


To steal the attention of the target audience is very easy through social media .


Moreover, the best part is that you have what is called  "viral" effects  that can spread your content or advertisement  to the wide public online .


Don’t get me wrong!


The number of fans is very important and must  also be one of your goals. You shouldn’t, however, ignore the other factors which answer the question "What kind of fans exactly? "


You do not believe that pressing the "LIKE"- button means that this person loves you, do you ?


Always pops up the question "How to turn our fans into customers? " .


I will probably surprise you, maybe not, by telling you - difficult, very difficult and pointless would be any such endeavor of yours.


Why do you need to turn your fans into customers when it’s much wiser to do the opposite! Yes ! I probably confused you, so I'll explain below what I mean !


Your most important fans as a businessman should be those who have already been your customers.


They already know you, you 've impressed them with something and it's easier to look for them as Facebook fans and especially as people who can make a positive review about your business.


It is these their feedback will contribute to the "added value" to the image of your brand on Facebook. It is these reviews will lead fans , their friends or others with an interest in your products and services.


These reviews are what is important so as to turn new  fans into real customers.


Pretty often the mechanism of social presence is wrong – we start looking for fans first, then customers and it would actually be much easier to bring back the existing customers as fans .


Of course,  sometimes this is not very easy, so you’d better think how to motivate your clients not to be just fans but active fans .


The most convenient way is to offer them a bonus as a discount on the next purchase, or another promotional offer .


This is often a nice motive with which everyone is satisfied and winning. Which reminded me of another common mistake.


Fan slavery


"Become a fan in order to participate", "Share this status with friends", " like this if you support whatsoever " - this is a tiny part of the neverending wining which brands serve their fans every day .


Of course, fans often do not mind that and they obey like real social slaves.


However, does this prompts them to buy or it’s just one of those many transit shares, likes and comments which they anyway do everywhere while being on Facebook ?


We’ll never know, but in any case this kind of "fan slavery " is not very helpful in the long term .


At one point, most fans will get tired of your prompting and wining and asking them to be active fans and thus they will become  "dead souls" - people who simply liked the page but do not find any benefit  from its presence on Facebook which is why they are not active on it.


As early as you create  your Facebook fan page you should have a plan what your commercial policy towards your fans will be .


The fact that they are fans should bring them some added value, make them privileged, not enslave them with constant requests to be more active.


Several variations for policy towards fans:


Let them first know about new promotions offered by the company.

The easiest way is through what is called "Facebook offers" – an ad format by which you buy virtual vouchers for promotional products or services.


This is similar to the vouchers from the sites for collective shopping.


Of course, you might also have promoted posts with promotions or Facebook applications for this purpose , but the basic idea is fans to be the first to know;


Policy for loyal customers and policy for active fans.

Surely you've heard of the idea called "fan of the month". While it is somehow worn-out, it works well because every month the most active fans receive bonuses and awards from the fan page, which encourages future activity of the audience in a funny and playful way .


The basic idea here is that as the company has a policy to its loyal customers, so it has to build policy to its fans - at one point both things will cover and some of your fans will be also your loyal customers, active on Facebook.


Whether you will bring to reality this idea by "Fan of the Month" or in other ways - the important thing is to think it over and find the right form;


Setting tasks involving joint development of a community.

Things here should be a little bit better planned in order to have different scenarios. The basic idea is to show your fans that the fan page is as much yours as it is theirs, and you should develop it together.


This sounds very platonic, perhaps, but for certain types of business it is an excellent  solution.


The most universal status in this respect is:


" When we find our fan №5 000, we’ll delight you all with our special promotion."


If you have friends who are interested in products about........ - Tell them to join our group here . "


While this is universally applicable, it is just a small part of an overall strategy about which you must first decide whether it is appropriate, and secondly, how to apply it in your fan page. 

Experiment with your policy to your fans - this is also something that will help you surprise them in a pleasant way and they will reward you by becoming your customers or by bringing new potential ones.

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