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Does the Fan Count on Your Facebook Page Actually Matter?

Posted 16 December, 2013

Does_the_Fan_Count_on_Your_Facebook_Page_Actually_Matter-lsfan-count-sqIf you’re like most businesses, you want to get more Likes on your Facebook page.

But do you know why?

Before you go bending over backwards to acquire new fans, ask yourself this:

Do fan counts on Facebook pages even matter, or could pursuing them be a waste of time & money?

To help answer this question, consider the facts below.

Does the Fan Count on Your Facebook Page Actually Matter?

Before we look at the benefits & misunderstandings of fan numbers, let's review some basic info about Facebook fans:

  1. What exactly is a Facebook fan?
  2. Is it easy to reach fans, once you have them?
  3. Should you purchase fans?

Let's see.

1. What exactly is a Facebook fan?

What does it actually mean when someone becomes a fan of your page? What exactly is someone saying when they Like your page?

According to Convince & Convert, a page Like is essentially the Facebook equivalent of an “intent to subscribe,” similar to an email opt-in or RSS subscription.

So the number of fans a page has represents how many people it has the potential to communicate with -- and eventually convert into readers, customers, ambassadors, etc.

So what you get when you increase your page's fan count is increased potential.

2. Is it easy to reach fans, once you have them?

Facebook fans = marketing audience, right?

The most obvious reason to get Facebook fans is so you have people to promote your content to. When someone Likes your page, they become a ready audience for your posts, don’t they?

Well, maybe.

According to data from Facebook analytics firm PageLever, most of your fans don’t see your content—in fact, the data shows that an average of only 7.49% of fans see your posts daily.

So if the reason you want more fans is to spread your message, make sure you’re interpreting the numbers realistically.

Unless you're posting amazing content, only about 7 of each 100 fans will actually see what you post.

3. Should you purchase fans?

Is there a difference between purchased & genuine fans?

It’s a popular idea today for brands to purchase fans in hopes of increasing the number of potential customers they can reach. But does it work?

“[Increasing numbers through purchasing] may look ‘good,’” says an article at WebVideoCrew.com, “but will those people who like your page or posts even tell their wives, husbands and parents about your brand? That’s doubtful.”

Most experts agree that purchased fans aren’t worth the trouble.

The fans aren’t legitimate fans -- and they probably won't ever pay attention to you.

The Benefits of Big Facebook Audiences

Obviously, though, there MUST be a reason that brands are trying to gain fans.

What is it? What are the advantages of gaining a large Facebook audience? What will high numbers do for you?

Here’s a look:

>> Potential to Convert

As mentioned above, Facebook fans are potential customers -- so more fans mean more opportunity for sales.

>> Sharing Potential

The beauty of Facebook is that every update you post has the potential to be shared across multiple users’ streams, easily & conveniently

And the more fans, the more possibility for viral reach.

When a fan shares your status update, link, or photo, he or she spreads your message to new people.

>> Boosted Website Traffic

You can share links to your blog or website in your Facebook profile, updates, photos, etc. -- each of which increases traffic to your site.

The more fans who are tuned in to your updates, the farther your link-boosting spreads.

>> Social Proof

When prospects encounter your Facebook page & see large fan numbers, it makes you look more credible.

This makes them more likely to consider what you have to say.

Why Facebook Fan Page Numbers Don’t Matter

So what’s the problem with Facebook fan numbers? Should you quit worrying about them?

Consider the following:

>> Fans vs. Engagement

On every Facebook fan page, you will see 2 numbers beneath the page title—“likes” and “talking about this.”

If you have 100,000 fans but only 20 people talking about your content, your fan numbers aren’t telling the whole story.

That’s why, compared to fan engagement, fan numbers don’t matter.

>> Facebook Fans Don’t Equal Better Business

Even if you had a lot of Facebook fans, it doesn't mean your business will see sales from them.

Are your fans turning into customers? Are your updates bringing new visits to your site?

If you can’t quantify how your Facebook fan page is benefiting your business, why are you using one?

The Bottom Line

As the Nonprofit Facebook Guy:

Facebook reach & page likes are both means to an end.

Whether or not Facebook fans matter is directly related to whether or not they help you achieve larger goals.

So if you're using your Facebook audience to work toward your real goals (i.e., new leads, new customers, etc.), it’s great.

But if you get lost making Facebook fans a goal in itself, then you’re wasting your time.

Your Thoughts

Do you worry about your page's fan count? Why or why not?

Can you think of tangible ways that your Facebook audience is helping your business?

If not, something needs to change.

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