Super brands and super fans: 6 best practices for Facebook fan growth

by Danyl Bosomworth

Super brands and super fans: 6 best practices for Facebook fan growth

Showing how Facebook apps can increase engagement – will we see these due in Google+ soon?

A new report from social media software vendor Wildfire (recently acquired by Google) uses some of their latest data to offer a few useful tips for Facebook marketers. You can dig into the case studies in the report right here.

We’re sharing it, since it’s not just about Facebook Page Likes, it’s about deeper engagement with a social media application hosted by Wildfire such as competition and quizzes and includes examples. Can we expect these types of applications in Google+ soon?

It defines three levels of engagement with the app: joiners who participate (83%); sharers who simply share (15%) and advocates who share and advocates who share and then encourage others to participate (1.5%). So this gives some figures to benchmark against and help build a business case for using one of these types of apps. Naturally some brands are much more successful in encouraging engagement as you can see from the table.

Facebook super fans – what’s their secret?

Wildfire asked how valuable is a “super fan”? A super fan being someone who (so far as a brand is concerned) has more ‘weight’ within their social sphere so far as your product or service is concerned, on top of that they’re an advocate of what you offer. So, an influencer.

Wildfire have analysed the data behind these super fans — to realise what kind of impact they have for your brand over a “typical” fan. Based on an analysis of 10,000 social marketing campaigns that ran on Facebook over the past 9 months, they noticed that the top performing 10% of campaigns are created by less than 700 brands.

So what makes these fans to successful?

Here are Wildfire’s key findings:

  • “Sharing of social media campaigns generates significant earned media. Our data shows that campaign “sharers” and “advocates” (whose shares result in someone new engaging with the campaign) generated an average of 14 earned media impressions each. In other words, for each sharer, 14 additional people will learn about the campaign in their news feed.”
  • “Sharing has a large impact on page engagement. Brands that are highly effective at engaging sharers and advocates, via campaigns, see three times more engagement on their page than average brands (in the form of user participation with custom applications, “likes,” shares, and comments).”
  • “Brand “advocates” bring in an average of 1.3 new people each. For every 10 advocates a brand gets to join their social campaign, 13 entirely new people will engage with the brand’s campaign through clicks, entries and other interactions.”
  • “Advocates can also impact fan growth. Engaging triple the number of advocates in campaigns (as our top decile “superbrands” did in this study) correlated with a 13x higher annual fan growth relative to average-performing brands.”

The 6 best practise recommendations (for Facebook and beyond)

Best Practice #1. Run multiple engagement applications – offering your users a variety of ways to engage with you and different things to do when they get to your social pages. Apps encourage time spent on the page as well as returning and referring. Create multiple, fun interaction points for your users

Best Practice #2. Use every available opportunity to stimulate interactions with clear calls-to-action. Don’t rely on users to just “Like,” share, or comment on your brand’s page. Optimise the potential outcome by instructing users on exactly how they should engage, what they should do next.

Best Practice #3. Images! Facebook’s Timeline really hinges on images — there is no other element that gets more real estate or exposure than pictures posted by users and brands. Include as many in your news feed posts as possible

Best Practice #4. Keep your interactions seasonally relevant (topical!). The 24/7 nature of the social media cycle means that brands can enhance interactions with users around a theme of current events in meaningful and relevant ways. In short – users can relate more easily.

Best Practice #5. Mix campaign types and create new offers on a consistent basis. Certain campaigns naturally inspire users to broadcast their interactions with a brand. Quizzes and trivia that showcase a user’s personality don’t always get the highest participation or entry rates. Sweepstakes, giveaways and coupons are proven get users to enter, but entrants are less likely share the fact that they just entered a sweepstakes. A well-rounded social media marketing programme is the key

Best Practice #6. extend your social communities across a variety of platforms. The world’s most talked-about brands don’t limit their presence to one social network.

What’s the value here?

It’s hard to say – once again this is all “super brand” insight, the vast majority of us aren’t super brands, we aren’t blessed with decades (or more) of heavy investment which naturally changes the way you’re perceived (by virtue of being recognised and having fans already) in social media. That said, the recommendations are mostly common sense and I found myself nodding a lot – so it’s got to be worthy of a test?