Engage 2011: How to Increase Your Facebook Fan Base—Maximizing Engagement with Likes and Shares

Room: Yosemite A/Marketer Track
Presenters: Dennis Yu, Webtrends and Veronica Stecker, Gordmans
Description: “Get the big tips you need to know to maximize engagement with likes and shares.”


Facebook advertising seems complicated, with a lot of emphasis on tiny percentages and acronyms like CPC, CTR and CPC. Questions about using Facebook for marketing range from “So you have lots of fans? So what?” to concerns about privacy and ad bombardment in our personal lives.

However, Facebook fans are super valuable, and that’s no secret. As Dennis Yu says, if 2010 was the year of acquiring fans, then 2011 is the year of figuring out what to do with them.

Three Main Ways To Measure Facebook Fans

There are three ways to measure the value of your Facebook fans:

  • Earned media—How many fans times, how often they post and how much would it cost in other media to get the same thing. When using Facebook to advertise, consider what it would cost you to get the same impression from TV or other media?
  • Lead Value—Score how hot your leads are and how active they are on your Facebook page.
  • Direct Conversion Value—Coupon redemption rates, geographic split on ads, how many fans become purchasers.

One thing that’s often overlooked in direct conversion is the “flow-over” that starts with the web, not just ends there.

For example, it makes sense that people would see an ad on television and go to that company’s Facebook page, but marketers don’t generally think about people seeking out a company’s Facebook page first. That needs to change, Yu says.

“There’s power in being able to track back from a purchase to see where the customer first ‘liked’ the product,” he says.

Who Likes What

Both Yu and fellow presenter Veronica Stecker of Gordmans agree: the main pitfall in Facebook advertising revolves around confusing the number of Facebook fans with actual engagement. Yu defines engagement as the number of likes and comments on a Facebook page divided by the total number of fans.

  • For example, in the fast food industry, McDonalds has the most fans, but Jack In The Box fans are much more engaged.
  • For hotels, Hilton has more fans than Best Western, Marriot, Holiday Inn or La Quinta. However, Hilton only has 149 fans per hotel location. Considering the amount of people who move through Hilton’s lobbies across the globe, that number should be higher and more engaged.
  • Banks perform even worse. Bank of America leads in number of fans over Wells Fargo, Sun Trust, and Key Bank, but Bank of America only has 7500 fans—less than two fans per branch.
  • For sports leagues, the NBA has more Facebook fans, but Major League Baseball fans have more engagement.
  • In shoes, Converse leads Nike, Puma, Adidas and New Balance with 11 million fans, but Converse fans are also much more active. Why? Higher resonance with Facebook users through Converse’s Chuck Taylor line.

Yu points out that “overlap” must be taken into account for brands, too. For example, Tiger Woods has more fans than Nike golf, but the two are intricately linked.

Let the Fans Do the Advertising For You

For businesses and brands, it costs about one or two dollars to get one Facebook fan. Some spend more, some less. (Starbucks spends about $10 per fan!) The value of these fans is that they will do your advertising for you.

“Fans loading photos of your product costs you nothing!” Yu notes.

And friends of your brand have friends: a huge source for new business. The average Facebook user makes 3 to 4 “likes” per day, and their friends usually take note of that.

“You have existing people who love you,” Yu says, “So the genius is to get those people to reach out to their friends.” Using word of mouth as the best form of advertising? A stroke of genius, indeed.

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