What Does A Large Number Of Facebook Page Fans Mean For Your Business?

The Social Rabbit Facebook Page has just cracked the 5,000 fan milestone! What a great achievement and a big shout out to Lara Solomon for creating and sharing valuable and engaging content to develop this on-line community over time.

When your Facebook Page reaches a major milestone, whether it be 500, 5,000 or 5 million Likes or some other metric, it is a good time to reflect and ask yourself “what does that mean for my business?” Obviously that answer will vary based on each business, but here are some things to consider:

Does it mean your Page is any good?

The higher the number of people that Like your Page, the greater the “social proof” that you are providing something of value (regardless of whether or not you are). It is like when a queue forms outside a shop. Passers by then assume that the shop is offering something really good and may even join the queue when they realise what this is.

I witnessed this firsthand a couple of weeks ago when I queued up out the front of the Telstra store in Melbourne for my iPhone 5 on release day (desperate I know – please don’t judge me). What was interesting was that there were only a couple of people out the front of the Optus store across the road. At Testra, countless people stopped by to see what all the fuss was about, but on the other side of the road everyone just walked on by, probably not even noticing there was an Optus store there.

As number of Likes is the most prominent public facing metric on a Facebook Page, it is one that (rightly or wrongly) the quality of our Page is often judged by. However, having a large number of people that Like your Page does not necessarily mean you are doing a good job. Maybe you have just been around longer and therefore generated a larger audience over that time.

Does it mean increased reach?

Every new “Like” is an increase in potential reach (and not actual reach) of the stories you share on your Page. Facebook estimates that a Page with approximately 5,000 fans will have the potential to reach an additional 3 million of their friends. But can it really?

Recent studies have demonstrated that updates on Facebook Pages reach only about 16% of fans. That means that a Page with 5,000 Likes is on average only going to have a reach of 800 people. So, whist increasing the number of people that Like your Page will continue to increase your reach, it means that you are going to have to experience a large growth in Likes in order to gain a significant increase in organic reach.

Does it mean increased brand awareness?

Most likely. As your posts are being displayed in the news feeds of some of your fans, and to a lesser extent the friends of your fans through viral reach, there is the potential for greater brand awareness as a result of more people seeing your posts on a more regular basis than if you only had a small fan base.

Does it mean greater engagement?

Not necessarily. Yes, it is true to some extent that if you have more fans then there are more people to engage in the conversation. Similar to as in a face-to-face environment, often people will be reluctant to be the first to speak up. As it only takes one to be the first to respond, you are more likely to get that response sooner on a Page that has more fans and therefore break down the barriers, giving others the green light to chime in.

From my experience with the Pages I manage, I find that quite often as you acquire more fans, the percentage of fans that are “Talking About This” starts to lower. For example, it is not uncommon for a Page with 500 Likes to get 50% Talking About This on the back of a couple of really unique and engaging posts, but this is much less likely on a Page with 5,000 fans – not without exceptional content and the aid of Promoted Posts that is!

The biggest influencer on engagement is not the number of fans on a Page, but the quality of the content that you share on your Page and the environment that you create to encourage interaction, with paid advertising obviously further assisting this process.

Does it mean increased sales?

Well that depends. It depends on what you are doing on your Page to convert fans to customers. If the answer is no, then you need to ask yourself: Do you have any lead generation opportunities, such as a free offer in exchange for an email address. Are you running a competition with a prize that is enticing to your ideal customer? Are you using Facebook offers that both drive sales and encourage your fans to share those offers with their friends? If not, then get cracking – you have some work to do to use Facebook to increase sales.

It also depends on how you got those Likes. Whilst it is not usual, it is possible to gain a large number of Likes without effectively targeting your audience, engaging that audience with valuable and relevant content and in turn developing a community of raving fans. I have seen this before when Pages advertise a competition where people must “Like” their Page to win a totally unrelated high value prize, such as an iPad for a home gardening business or they blow a large budget on adds that are not targeted at their niche. Then when it comes time to promote to their audience they wonder why nobody wants to buy.

What can I do to further improve my Page and achieve business success?

Again, this will be specific to the strengths and weaknesses of your Page. However, one thing all Pages will need to do as they attract more and more fans is to continue to work hard to ensure that your fans know, like and trust you, your brand and the products and/or services that you offer.

They have liked your Page, so to some extent they already know of you, but do they REALLY know you? Do they know who are you, what you stand for and why they should Like you? If not, you need to share this with them over time. It’s called being “social” and that will in turn make you more likeable!

To gain the trust of your fans you need to continually and consistently show up, give your community what they want, pay attention and of course, be honest! If you are able to gain and retain the trust of your Facebook fans, then you are on track toward developing a community around your business and ultimately achieving business success through the use of social media.

So what does 5,000 fans mean for Social Rabbit?

As the new Chief Rabbit, that has inherited a 5,000 strong community, I am in a relatively unique position, as I am still very much at the early stages of the know, like and trust cycle.

So first things first, lets get to know each other. Here’s a little bit of information about me and I would love to get to know you better. Please introduce yourself in the comments below, tell me what you want to get out of our relationship and feel free to let me know what you don’t want also. I will then do my best to deliver.

Now don’t be shy, someone has to go first. Please don’t leave me standing here with my drink in hand in the middle of the room with nobody talking to me. Feel free to get the conversation going in the comments below or via whichever social network you stumble across this on.

About Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is the Chief Rabbit at Social Rabbit and the Director of Impactiv8. Loren is super passionate about empowering people to use the power of social media to achieve business success.

Comments

  1. *clinks glasses* Hi Loren! I am Gayle from http://www.iwillinvitations.com.au and I have followed Social Rabbit as I think it has been the best source to find reliable, up-to-date information that is told in a human (and humorous!) way.
    Your first post was fab, looking forward to more along the same theme. :)

  2. Good analysis, Loren! 5,000 likes only means you have a wide audience on Facebook. However, you should also take into consideration the participation of the people who threw a like on your Facebook profile.

  3. Social Rabbit says:

    Definitely Kerian – A large number of Likes means absolutely nothing if a decent proportion of those people aren’t engaged with your business through both meaningful conversation and as customers.

  4. Just loved your post! I think your way of putting it out is perfect, it really teaches us a lot. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    I´ll definatly keep on following. =D

  5. Great article – I have a question. I have noticed that Facebook Fan Page Likes can accrue at a different rate than what the FB data itself shows. For instance, an ad manager might say you received 10 Likes in one day, when your page shows an increase of 20. Is the number of Likes a page shows, strictly Page Likes?

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