The 5 Types of Facebook Fans (and How to Keep Them)

Steph Parker
Steph Parker Activation Strategy, allen & gerritsen

Posted on June 11th 2012

The 5 Types of Facebook Fans (and How to Keep Them)

One of the things that's kept me busy during my community management days has been attempting to profile the various types of Facebook fans. And while fans are each unique (since they're all different people), many of their behaviors fall into certain patterns. Here are the 5 most common types of Facebook fans that I've seen while managing communities, and how you can tailor your content to keep them.

  1. The Potential Client/Customer 
    The potential client or customer is a fan who has heard of your business through something like word of mouth or an advertising campaign, and is intrigued by what you're all about. This type of fan is like a hawk waiting to swoop; the more relevant, interesting, and personal your content, the more likely this fan is to stay on your page (and make a purchase - or contact you for business, if you're B2B).

    How to keep them: Strike a healthy balance with your content that services their needs/wants with a bit of personality. B2C companies can do things like showcase fan reviews, while B2B companies can showcase in-house talent, or show off a "behind the scenes" look at what the office environment is like. Be fun and approachable, and work on exhibiting a voice that mixes thought leadership with friendliness.

  2. The Friend/Employee
    The friend/employee is someone who has liked your page either because they want to support your business (or business venture), or work at your company. These fans are dangerous because while they raise the quantitative count of your audience, they qualitatively reduce the value of your audience. Employees and supportive friends are less likely to engage with your content, simply because they typically view the "Like" as the end of their transaction.

    How to keep them: The more important piece of this question isn't how to keep them, but how to engage them. Borrowing a few tactics from pleasing the Potential Customer/Client can help - B2Cs can highlight certain locations that provide excellent service, and B2Bs can make things personal by recognizing individual employees. Since they already have a personal connection, you can play on it. And, if it works out, your other fans will enjoy seeing the faces behind the logo talking about things that are happening.

  3. The Sweepstaker
    Did your page feature an exclusive contest recently? If so, it's a pretty safe bet that some of the newbies to your audience simply liked your page so they could have a chance at winning your giveaway. Often, Sweepstakers have a "one and done" mentality, and once the contest is over, may unlike the page and move on. Other times, these fans might forget they've liked your page until an irrelevant piece of content appears in their newsfeeds, and then they'll purge your page. 

    How to keep them:
    You may be wondering why you'd want to keep such a specific group of people, but the Sweepstakers are more likely to vocalize their excitement for your promotions, and that's free marketing for your page. Don't just post a contest and then forget about it - support it with content they can like. And, as one contest is winding down, hype up others that may be launching soon, or focus on promotions you have outside of Facebook. Provide exclusive deals, like coupon codes, through posts made on random days to increase the chances they'll stick around.

  4. The Happy Camper
    The Happy Camper is a great fan to have, and most brands see them interact with their Facebook pages regularly. Happy Campers have positive brand sentiments based on great purchases they've made, wonderful customer experiences, and/or childhood memories. If your community is more support-based, they're on your page because they want to come together with other fans to get that feeling of community. They come to your page because your brand or business has already enhanced a part of their lives, and they're passionate about sharing that with you (and other fans) so they get some recognition.

    How to keep them: Keep their conversations flowing! Thank them, ask them questions, and respond to them when they take it upon themselves to post content to your Timeline without a call to action. Work conversational posts into your content that ask for opinions that these die-hards will be eager to give. Tease upcoming work or new products/promotions with photos, polls, and links to keep their excitement flowing. And, if they ever post really unique content to your wall, ask if you can share it from the brand's voice. People love to be recognized and reinforced.

  5. The Fairweather Friend
    The Fairweather Friend is a fan who may like your brand, its services, or a recent product they've purchased, but isn't driven to shout that from the rooftops. They usually like your page to stay current on brand/business news, or to remember your brand/business for a later date, when they'll be seeking what you have to offer. Unlike the Happy Campers and the Potential Client/Customers, though, they're more likely to leave negative feedback if your brand does something they don't like.

    How to keep them: If they leave concerns or comments on your page, address them head-on. Transparency is key. Understand and embrace what makes them different: they're looking for information, so give it to them. Make relevant appeals, and much like you do for the Potential Client/Customer, show the value of your services to encourage engagement and business transactions outside of Facebook.

Of course, a healthy Facebook page that sees an upward trend of engagement and growth combines all of these content pieces into an overarching strategy. But, unless you understand who you're speaking to, you may not know where to begin. Use these profiles as a starting point, and then dive into the analytics to get a closer look. Share any other fan types you find in the comments below.

Steph Parker

Steph Parker

Activation Strategy, allen & gerritsen

Steph Parker is a digital strategist working at an ad shop in Boston. She was also named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Marketing & Advertising in 2013. Steph gets her hands dirty with research, planning, content, and design, and has worked with several Fortune 500 brands on various campaigns and initiatives. In her spare time, she teaches classes & workshops at General Assembly. 

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Comments

Claude @ md marketing digital
Posted on June 12th 2012 at 1:36PM

Hi Steph


Good work!  Not really friend of generalizations, things can be much more complex than 5 categories, but we must help ourselves with some techniques so as to simplify our work and I believe you´ve done it

 

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts


Claude @ md marketing digital Argentina

http://www.mdmarketingdigital.com

DaveKastner
Posted on June 14th 2012 at 11:09PM

I do like and relate to your categories. 

Sorry, I'm more negative on "sweepstakers", unless the prize directly relates to your product or service (e.g. a hotel offering a free stay) OR you can use the entries for another purpose (e.g. photo contest).


It seems that unless you offer a constant series of contests, their low rates of interaction will reduce the percentage of people that like or comment on a post, hurting rankings. And they will likely never convert into sales. So I don't go after them.

DaveK@CentralCoastWebServices.com

http://centralcoastwebservices.com



AmitNanda
Posted on June 14th 2012 at 11:40PM

This is a useful framework. Would'nt it be great if they would self-identify themselves into a bucket :) It is a challenge to identify fans that may convert to customers - and this is an extremely important type. One thing to consider for the "The Potential Client/Customer" type is to try and get these fans into your sales pipeline. You could use FB Page apps to pull them into your email database (https://apps.facebook.com/ctctjmml/) or mobile database (http://mofans.co/) or Salesforce db (http://blog.involver.com/2011/08/23/salesforce-integration-to-release-in-conjunction-with-dreamforce-2011/). 

towermarketing
Posted on June 15th 2012 at 1:07PM

EXCELLENT Post Steph.  This is a valuable resource for any community manager.  Hopefully you get a lot of shares so that more people can see this post.  We will be sharing it on our social media accounts today.

tom crawshaw
Posted on June 19th 2012 at 8:58AM

Hey Steph, 

Really great post you've done.  It's very important to recognise the types of fans on your page so managers can create content that will drive activity.  

I think sweepstakers could be broken down a little further, into the fans that will unlike your page after entering and the fans that will stick around for future cometitions/offers.

Thanks for sharing :) 

Tom