Time to Confess your Fake Fans!


Facebook recently announced steps against Brand pages that have purchased fake likes. In the crosshairs are marketers who’ve turned to buying likes in bulk, especially those sourced from spambots, malware or fake users. Likes from sources like these will be discredited on the brand page.

Since Facebook Timeline was pushed out publicly, the link between growing a fan base and engaging them has grown stronger. In it’s current avatar, Brands on Facebook are encouraged to think harder about the social content that they put out on their brand page, the connections that they create with Facebook users even before they can turn into fans.

Ironically, garnering Likes through Facebook ads is also no longer a reliable method of getting fans; Especially considering that campaigns can be setup to show ads in a scattergun approach instead of a finely targeted approach that minimizes the reach of the campaign and increases the likelihood of attracting genuine fans as the BBC found in an investigative report. Also, Facebook is itself replete with as many as 83 million fake users who are likely to interact with your ad despite the care that you might have taken to carefully target your ads.

Creating and nurturing a social personality for a business is hard work and most businesses lack the resources and the know-how to turn around and fit this narrow mould perfectly. Buying fake fans is clearly no alternative. To learn more about how these changes will affect your Brand page, I recommend going over this post on the official Facebook blog.

Get-a-Fan Success Stories

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We’ve got 2 fan acquisition success stories to share. Craft Beer Club see less than 10,000 unique visitors per month and Worldwide Golf Shops see 200,000 unique visitors per month. Both deployed Get-a-Fan across all pages on their websites where their visitors could choose to Like their respective Brand fan pages and earn an incentive in the buying workflow.

Download the Worldwide Golf Shops Get-a-Fan story (pdf).

Download the Craft Beer Club Beer of the Month Club Get-a-Fan story (pdf).

Enhancing Fan Value

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Here at ShopSocially, we’re obsessed by the mechanics behind how online retailers create value through interactions with their fans. Understanding how this equation comes together is what we build for, talk about and study.

What are Facebook fans worth? The true value of a Facebook fan to a business is a key social metric for every marketer. It makes sense to have a ready and clear answer to the question How much value do Facebook fans create in their lifetime association with your business.

A Fan’s lifetime value has been estimated to be as high as $136 by a study by Syncapse covering Brands such as McDonalds, Starbucks, Nokia, BlackBerry, Adidas, Nike, Coca-cola and Victoria’s Secret. The study reinforces the common sense rational that fans are far more valuable to you when they imbibe greater affinity towards your Brand.

For an online retailer not all shoppers are the same and one way to capture and measure this sense of affinity is to track how valuable the shopper is to your business. You can learn more about this methodology and the study on gigaom.com. It also works as a template or guide to a genuine fan acquisition strategy, acquire those fans that want to engage you over and above the average shopper. The strategy encourages you to think about the key shopper behaviors that will help you identify true fans, those you’d truly want to reward?

Their Transactions. Aim to recruit fans from shoppers who buy more, more often from you, and have more valuable shopping carts. A combination of these 3 measures will help point you in the right direction in your search for Fans, Gross Purchase (Order) Value,  Purchases per month and, Net Margin per Purchase.

Their Feedback and Recommendations. What they’re saying about your brand and your products on Social Media matters, but not in a traditional sense of simply good or bad. You want to listen to those fans who have something important to say. Perhaps they have strong feedback about your product and that intensity originates from a unique feeling about how they identify with your Brand. This intensity is a great indicator that their needs are the ones you could work to resonate with. For instance, if your Brand stands for products that are naturally sustainable, such as Gaiam – you’d better be listening if your shoppers give you feedback on how their shipments are packed. The number of comments on the post by your fan is a good measure to track in this category.

Their Influence and Reach. Look for the shoppers who’s friends look to them for product recommendations in your category. A mom who is an expert on child education and is actively publishing online on her twitter or blog makes a great Brand Ambassador for educational Apps, DVD’s, and books. Influence is easily measured by how many views, Likes, and shares a post from the shopper usually gathers.

What they create with you. Online, nothing speaks more about affinity and shared purpose than the videos, photos, designs, and stories that your fans will create and share forward. Retailers driven by co-creation such as CafePress and Zazzle actively nurture design communities. Others such as Best Bully Sticks, encourage co-participation by inviting fan created videos, captions, tag lines of their pets. If you are not already doing this, or are seeking ways to drive greater engagement in this way, work out how you can inspire your shoppers to share their lives and connect that back to your Brand’s purpose and journey.

We hope you can apply these ideas and let us know how important these are to your business in the comments below.