4 Reasons To Focus On The Quality (Not Quantity) Of Your Facebook Fan Base

Focus­ing less on the quan­ti­ty and more on qual­i­ty allows for bet­ter, more focused sto­ry­telling because you’re try­ing to reach your loy­al­ists.

Lisa Williams By Lisa Williams from Sustainable Digital Marketing. Join the discussion » 1 comment

Build­ing rela­tion­ships fos­ters brand loy­al­ty, impor­tant because a repeat cus­tomer spends 67 per­cent more than a new one (BIA/Kelsey). Build­ing loy­al­ists is impor­tant because, for many busi­ness­es, 20 per­cent of cus­tomers, their best cus­tomers, account for 80 per­cent of their rev­enue. When think­ing about grow­ing a Face­book fan base it’s easy to think first about get­ting a lot of fans, but there are good rea­sons for focus­ing less on quan­ti­ty and more on qual­i­ty of your fan rela­tion­ships.

1. It’s Easier To Tell A Better Story

This year, more mon­ey will be spent by brands in the effort to engage audi­ences through sto­ries, instead of tra­di­tion­al adver­tise­ments, than any year in his­to­ry, accord­ing to Con­tent­ly.

Cleve­land Clin­ic shares posts about improv­ing and under­stand­ing our health with posts about food, exer­cise, sleep and what to expect with dif­fer­ent types of ill­ness­es. The top-lev­el top­ics they share are fair­ly uni­ver­sal and help the clin­ic get a lot of top-lev­el engage­ment. But they also cre­ate great engage­ment by reach­ing out to a small­er base.

Cleveland Clinic Cancer Questions

Their post “Can you kiss after chemo?” did­n’t engage as many peo­ple, but those who shared were invest­ed in the sto­ry. Peo­ple who care about this sto­ry may not be asso­ci­at­ed in any oth­er way, but under­stand­ing the truths and myths of lov­ing some­one through chemo is a pow­er­ful con­nec­tor.

Mercedes Cruising the Pacific Coast Highway

Mer­cedes-Benz’s Face­book engage­ment is less about sell­ing cars and more about engag­ing around a lifestyle. Shar­ing cus­tomer sto­ries about “cruis­ing the Pacif­ic Coast High­way” immers­es fans in a lifestyle inclu­sive of their beau­ti­ful­ly craft­ed cars through events, images, and their life­long engaged cus­tomers.

Mer­cedes-Benz fre­quent­ly shares cus­tomer sto­ries, turn­ing cus­tomers into sto­ry­tellers. Since 2013 a cou­ple has cov­ered more than 30,000km with some excit­ing chal­lenges in their Mer­cedes-Benz, like pass­ing through the Indi­an Himalayas. Fans can fol­low their jour­ney here.

Samsung Selfie Tips

Sam­sung Mobile’s Face­book Page focus­es not on their prod­ucts, but how real peo­ple use their prod­ucts. Shar­ing the many ways peo­ple use their fea­tures to take bet­ter self­ies gets Sam­sung great engage­ment and edu­cates users on new prod­uct inno­va­tion.

When mar­keters focus less on the quan­ti­ty and more on qual­i­ty it allows for bet­ter, more focused sto­ry­telling because we’re not try­ing to “boil the ocean” and reach every­one. We’re try­ing to reach our loy­al­ists.

2. It’s Easier To Leverage Partnerships

Red Bull owns cre­at­ing part­ner­ship to grow their brand fanat­ics, whether that’s with sports teams or car brands like Volk­swa­gen and Mer­cedez-Benz. They know their audi­ence psy­cho­graph­ics, find oth­er brands who engage that audi­ence and part­ner to pro­mote their sto­ries and engage fans.

Star­bucks Love Sto­ries by Match shares sto­ries of how peo­ple had their first date at the cof­fee shop. This part­ner­ship com­bines the beau­ty of love sto­ries and hope with a cup of cof­fee, illus­trat­ing brand val­ue for both Match.com and Star­bucks.

Nur­tur­ing part­ner­ships for the goal of pleas­ing cus­tomers and adding val­ue is eas­i­er when we’re focused on the val­ue we bring rather than the num­bers we hope they’ll bring.

3. It Helps Focus On Caring

Andrew Stan­ton, great sto­ry­teller and film­mak­er, says that sto­ry­telling and engage­ment is about “mak­ing them care.” Star­bucks’ mis­sion “Inspir­ing and nur­tur­ing the human spir­it – one per­son, one cup, and one neigh­bor­hood at a time” is evi­denced by its engage­ment strate­gies with fans.

Starbucks HowWeMet

In their #howwemet por­trait series, Star­bucks gives cus­tomers a chance to share how they meet and cre­ate engage­ment in their lives through cof­fee and Star­bucks loca­tions. Hash­tags com­bined with cus­tomer sto­ry­telling is the per­fect car­ing and shar­ing com­bi­na­tion.

If “mak­ing them care” is the key to great sto­ry­telling, mar­keters have a bet­ter chance of tru­ly inspir­ing care from a small­er engaged fan base than a larg­er, mild­ly inter­est­ed base.

4. It Drives Better Cross-Channel Integration And Business Analysis

Email will be just as impor­tant to engag­ing with and grow­ing your audi­ence on Face­book as the social plat­form itself. Heed­ing the “con­tent strat­e­gy first, chan­nel sec­ond” axiom helps mar­keters see build­ing a Face­book audi­ence as build­ing a brand audi­ence that adheres to brand strat­e­gy. Cleve­land Clin­ic beau­ti­ful­ly con­nects Face­book fans to the con­tent they own on their site and fol­low through with con­nect­ing read­ers to rel­e­vant con­tent deep­er in the fun­nel with email.

Van­i­ty met­rics like fan count does­n’t mat­ter as much as the met­rics around ded­i­cat­ed fans that read, engage with and share brand sto­ries. These more impor­tant Face­book Fan met­rics should live in the ana­lyt­ics dash­board, not in siloed report­ing.

Organ­ic reach on Face­book is dwin­dling and pay­ing to find and engage fans will only get more cost­ly. Focus­ing less on quan­ti­ty and more on qual­i­ty will assure that your paid social media spends get long-term engage­ment rather than pass­ing endorse­ment.


Some­times less is more. Cre­at­ing Face­book fan cam­paigns that have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to be high­ly engag­ing for a small­er num­ber of fans is a great way to build an audi­ence that stays con­nect­ed and con­sid­er them­selves as part of a tribe. Build­ing rela­tion­ships and grow­ing a fan base is a long-term com­mit­ment with the pow­er to build loy­al­ty.

Ana­lyz­ing how Face­book reach and engage­ment impacts your brand and test­ing are the best ways to help you define your Face­book strat­e­gy. There aren’t hard and fast rules. As Face­book engage­ment con­tin­ues to get more expen­sive it’s more impor­tant than ever for mar­keters to know the answer to this ques­tion.

Lisa Williams

Written by Lisa Williams

President, Sustainable Digital Marketing

Lisa Williams is the President of Sustainable Digital Marketing. She is a 19-year veteran of online marketing and has been featured in Kiplinger Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Boston Globe and The Oregonian. She recently authored her first book, "When Everybody Clicks: Sustainable Digital Marketing". Lisa is on the SEMpdx (Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland Oregon) Advisory Board. She speaks at regional, national and international conferences on the topics of digital strategy, marketing integration, team development and leadership. She is available for training and consulting.

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