February 17, 2012

How is Facebook Like a Ferrari? Understanding the Value of “Fans”

By Patrick Mahan

How do you explain social media marketing to business owners who want to jump on the bandwagon but hesitate because "the only comments we get are from people that aren't our ideal customer." 

That's a legitimate concern. And it's no surprise that you might jump to this conclusion after scrolling through the comments on your Facebook Page. It does seem that a lot of the people who are commenting may not fit your "ideal customer profile". For example, if you sell luxury cars, like Ferraris, the majority of people commenting on your Page probably can't afford one.

Does that mean their comments are useless?  Are you wasting your time and resources maintaining a Facebook Page if most of your comments come from teenagers or "unqualified customers"?

Not at all. Fans do count. And their engagement on your Facebook Page is critical to getting your message in front of those people who ARE qualified... the ones lurking in the Facebook shadows... remaining anonymous.

Remember, just because they're not commenting, doesn't mean they're not watching.
To understand the value of Fans, it's important to understand the mechanics behind how Facebook works.
Facebook determines the content that shows up in your News Feed. It's based on an algorithm, called EdgeRank, that takes several factors into consideration. For example, if a certain post receives lots of comments, then Facebook's EdgeRank will score the post higher. The higher the score, the more likely it is to show up in the News Feeds of all your fans.
So the more comments you get (even from those people who may not fit your "ideal demographic") the more likely your post will show up in the News Feed of those people you DO consider your ideal demographic (as long as those people have "Liked" your page).
Your goal should be to create content on Facebook that gets people talking, sharing and commenting. In this particular case, QUANTITY is more important than QUALITY. The comments don't have to be from qualified customers, your mission is to create "buzz". Fans create buzz. And buzz attracts people who ARE qualified.
Think about the psychology behind buying a Ferrari.  A very small percentage of the population can afford one of these luxury cars. Most people can probably count on one hand the number of Ferrari's they've seen in their lifetime. So how did this car become so popular?
Rich people did not make Ferrari a cultural icon. It became a cultural icon thanks to the hype created by all the people who CAN'T afford one. That hype is what makes owning a Ferrari a status symbol. And that hype was created mostly by the "Average Joe's" of the world.
Think about that the next time you're scrolling through all the "useless" comments on your Facebook Page. Those people are helping you create your brand, push it out to the masses and create the hype that leads to profits.
Here are a couple of interesting statistics to consider...
As of December 2011, there were 845 million people worldwide with Facebook profiles. 57% of those people log into Facebook EVERY day.
Also, did you know that 46% of millionaires in the United States have Facebook profiles? Check out my blog post, "Even Millionaires Like Facebook" for more details.

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