Why do We Follow Brands on Facebook?

Coming back from Las Vegas PubCon 2012 left me with more than a hangover (although it was fierce). Las Vegas also sent me home with a whole new perspective on digital marketing and, in particular, everybody’s favourite social media giant – Facebook.

Representing more than a few brands and businesses on Facebook, I’ve had an amazing opportunity to try all sorts of strategies and tactics. I’ve also learned quite a bit; about customer loyalty, engagement,trust and authenticity. These four things are critical to the success of a Facebook fan page, and when we had a team meeting recently, we found that everyone is a fan of at least one page.

Then this question came up:

Why do we follow brands on Facebook?

The room went quiet. Heads were scratched.

If you ask Facebook, they’ll tell you that people follow brands that they care about. And to a certain extent, this is true. Tigercat Forestry Equipment, for example, has a community of over 7,000 Facebook users – and the majority of them are operators of their machines.

They care deeply about the Tigercat brand, and go wild for Tigercat content. Maybe these operators aren’t going to outright buy a Tigercat machine – but their passion for the product, amplified and given a voice on Facebook, can influence their employers’ decisions.

But this principle of care can’t be the only thing driving Facebook fan likes, there needs to be something more there for consumer-oriented pages. And that “something more” is value.

Content that provides users with value is critical to maintaining engagement and, thus, reach. The reality is you need to be willing to give something to your fans, if you expect them to spread your message online. There are a few ways to do this, some of them new.

Facebook Offers

Facebook offers is a new tool that can be used to generate buzz about specific promotions. Instead of announcing that your business is offering 20% off this weekend, or that you’re going to give away a free product to bring people through the door, create a Facebook offer. You can limit the number of offers claimed, explicitly state your terms and conditions and even target the offer to a specific demographic.

Contests

Contests are probably the most effective way to generate value for your fans. A contest can be as simple as a sweepstakes, or can be more interactive and require an action from the user in order to participate. Either way, you’re providing users with an opportunity to receive something tangible in return for liking your page and sharing your content. You can even use contests to generate leads for your business,if done correctly. Recently we ran a contest for Performance Mercedes that had 124 entries and generated nearly 100 new leads for the dealership.

Facebook Offers and Contests are just two ways to provide value to your fans. When you’re planning a Facebook strategy, be sure to consider using at least one of these two tactics – just remember to follow Facebook’s policies!

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