Are You Attracting Facebook Fans or Driving Them Away?

You entered the world of Facebook with all the best intentions. You wanted to use the social network as a way to connect with current customers, attract potential new ones, and share a little bit of your brand with those listening. So every day you take to the site to post new content and engage, but is it working? Are you attracting Facebook fans–or are youdriving them away? How can you tell the difference?

Below are some activities known to either attract or repel customers. See which categories your behavior falls into. If it’s the latter, maybe it’s time for a revamp.

How To Keep Them

Offer discounts. Studies continue to show that the leading reason customers engage with brands on social networks is to take advantage of social media-based promotions or coupons. Customers are willing to “like” a page with the hopes that the brand will “thank them” by giving them a discount or special offer. When you’re creating these offers, worry less about the extravagance of what you’re giving out and more about making sure it’s something unique and an offer people will want to redeem. For example, a discount associated with breaking a certain number of fans is more memorable than a generic 10 percent off coupon they could get anywhere.

Solve their problems. Another reason customers will look to connect with you on social media is because they have a problem they need you to fix. Maybe their cable isn’t working, they got a bad burger or they can’t figure out how to get the battery out of their Blackberry. If you’re providing information to help them solve their problems or answering questions as they come in, then you’re providing value and enough reason for someone to want to stick around and remain a fan of your page.

Chat with them. Are you using your Facebook page to host conversations about community issues or are you simply using it as a datafeed, auto-posting your Twitter updates, blog posts, etc.? Users who join your Facebook page are doing it because they want that extra connection with you. If you’re seeing a lot of conversation and engagement between members, it’s a good sign you’re attracting them, not sending them away.

Get their feedback. Another good way to retain fans is to ask for their feedback about new releases, future products, etc. People like to feel like they have a say in the brands they love, and inviting them into the process makes them feel more connected and part of what you’re doing. The more invested you can make someone feel, the greater the chance you’re going to keep him or her on your side.

Entertain them. When I’m deciding which brands I want to engage with on Facebook, I look for brands that can not only keep me informed, but keep me entertained as well. Don’t go totally unprofessional, but don’t be afraid to have a little fun or post a link to something that made you smile. Showing the personal side of your brand is a good way to keep people interested in what you’re doing and make them feel more connected to you.

How to Drive Them Away

Disrespect other members. How do you treat the members in your Facebook community? Do you allow healthy debate to take place or do you hop in and criticize those who may share negative comments about your brand? Do you censor their messages because they’re not totally complimentary? Do you step in when other members are fighting amongst each other? It’s your job to create a healthy environment in your community. If you’re not, people aren’t going to want to hang out there.

Post too many messages. How many times a day do you post? Are you constantly flooding your wall with new updates, new blog posts, new links and new synced Twitter updates? If you are, you may be giving users more information than they can handle and driving them away from your page. Information overload can be quite intimidating!

Don’t post enough messages. On the flip side, maybe you never update, to the point where people wonder if you’re still there. While you don’t want to flood people with constant updates, you do want to give them a sign that you’re still part of the community and listening to what’s going on. No one wants to hang out in an empty house.

Ignore feedback. When you ask for feedback, do you acknowledge it in some way or do you let it fall on deaf ears? While asking for feedback is a great way to encourage people to become part of your community, if you continually ignore them, it may also backfire. You don’t have to act on everything that is suggested, but do give people a sign that you’re listening and appreciating their effort.

What signs do you look for that people are engaged in your Facebook community and aren’t secretly looking for the “unlike” button?


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

14 Reactions
  1. Lisa–These points are helpful guidelines for marketers. They are in line with Cone Inc.’s recent research on social media. Consumers want discounts and help solving their problems. If you’re off topic or over communicate they’re gone. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  2. Lisa,

    Thank you so much for these great tips, and for me, some reminders.

    Although I’d prefer not to use Facebook too much, because of the issues that I have concerning their attitude about my privacy, I try to use it as a business tool.

    Of course, like most of us, I’ve been able to connect, (although not too deeply) with some old friends.

    The Franchise King

  3. Most businesses just need to put themselves in the customers place and ask “Would I like this page?” or “Would my best customers like this?” If you can honestly answer yes, you should have a good chance of getting current and potential customers to join you.

  4. Wise words. Don’t spam my inbox with the same message but from 3 or 4 different admins from your page. I will un-friend you as quickly as I friended you!

  5. This is a great post because no one likes to be sold to. If people are looking for information and they stumble upon it without being solicited the message can become viral

    here is a good read

  6. Thanks for the great collection of tips, Lisa.

    We recently held a Facebook drive with a goal of hitting 1982 likes, 1982 being the year our company was founded. Though we missed our goal by a few hundred likes, we gave each Facebook fan a Queensboro Royal Family tee anyway.

    Our community loved receiving a free shirt and it boosted visits and likes.

    Since then, we’ve begun offering special deals (free shipping, 10% off, and others) to our “Royal Family” and response continues to be positive.

    As you pointed out, you can’t use these techniques constantly. You have to mix things up to keep it entertaining. Right now, for instance, we’re doing a search for a company mascot.

    My advice is to keep it interactive, informative, and entertaining and people will keep coming back for more.

  7. Great post and thank you for sharing. How many posts I can update my fanpage to be more effective? Is ounce everyday too much or once a week? Thank you.

  8. Hi Lisa, it’s a very helpful post. I myself don’t own a small profitable business but I still have a fan page on facebook. This is a nonprofit entertainment program. We call it BKIT Radio Online. For sometimes, I want our page to be more popular, for those who want to have time full of music on demand and loving message.
    All I want is your advice, what should I do? (our page’s fan is now just 200 ones)

  9. Chasing the Facebook Fan is good and potentially cost effective marketing approach – and driving them away is bad, but sheer Fan numbers are often not turned into customers through the door, directly due to the worldwide nature of the internet and Facebook platform

    One must have fans that patronize the business, and a business that brings them back once they do visit – in order to reap the efforts of fan development.

    Localized advertising through the facebook to gfenerate local interested fans seems to be a critical component to turning fans into cash flow.

  10. How will the new Facebook mail service interact with the fan (“like) page?

  11. Very informative post. Since my business is service related, solving people’s problems trumps placing discount coupons on my business’s Facebook page.