[mobileYouth] Why are facebook fans not real fans?


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The question “how does our brand get more fans?” is one of the most popular responses people shoot me after reading our newsletter. It’s a popular question because brands with the most fans are the most recommended.

My answer is a hackneyed version of the old adage: “know the why and the how will work itself out.” So, the purpose of this article is to help you find out about the drivers behind fans, how they make brands and what you can do about it.

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[mobileYouth] Why are facebook fans not real fans?

  1. 1. Why are Facebook Fans not real Fans?By Graham BrownThe question “how does our brand get more fans?” is one of the most popular responses peopleshoot me after reading our newsletter. It’s a popular question because brands with the most fans arethe most recommended.My answer is a hackneyed version of the old adage: “know the why and the how will work itselfout.” So, the purpose of this article is to help you find out about the drivers behind fans, how theymake brands and what you can do about it.
  2. 2. The case for fansSo, why fans? Why not just customers?Without fans you are nothingWell, fans are a core composite of the successful modern brand. If you look at brands that regularlyfeature as the most profitable in their category you’ll find a list of brands with very strong fan bases:• Apple• Starbucks• Jet Blue• Monster Energy• Go-ProThe reason is that fans impact the bottom line. Yes, that’s right, this isn’t just about fluffy socialmedia type marketing but directly driving profits. You see, fans do most of the heavy lifting for thebrand.• Fans drive earned media so the brand can spend less on advertising• Fans are the first to discover new products and educate their networks, so products spreadfast and management costs are lower• Fans drive the innovation of the product keeping the product relevantBehind every successful brand is a solid internal business case supporting young fans.So how do you do it?Know the difference between fans and “fans”According to dictionary.com a fan is“A person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art or entertainmentform, or famous person”I know a guy who’ll get 5000 fans for your brand’s Facebook page for $5 but you have to askyourself, are these the “fans” you’re really looking for? Do these people really love or admire thebrand?You could have a million “fans” on Facebook but will those “fans” stand up for your brand whenpublicly attacked? Will those fans listen to what you have to say? Will those fans camp outovernight to be first in line?In the ongoing battle between Samsung and Apple you see the two marketing strategies play out.It’s a battle between logic and emotion, between liked and loved between customers and fans.You get the message. Too many brands pile into the fan space, spurred on by johnny-come-latelyagencies who promise all the benefits of having fans but with none of the hard work.
  3. 3. Real fans require real workConsider the story of Alice Finch. For the last year, Alice has been building a scale model of HarryPotter’s Hogwarts school using Lego bricks. Not only has it cost her 400,000 bricks but she’s alsolost 2 fingerprints and had numerous injuries from countless hours on her knees meticulouslybuilding the Potter world.“It sounds odd to say ‘Lego-related injuries’ but it is possible,” Ms Finch told News.com.auHer build was a labor of love. Alice travelled to the locations in the movie from Seattle to Oxford inEngland because she “wanted to build a more architecturally accurate version”. You have to see herpics on Flickr to appreciate the magnitude of the effort.• You can’t buy this kind of love and this is where so many brands get it wrong.• You cannot buy fans (fan love is not for sale)• You cannot turn customers into fans using advertising (advertising only talks about thebrand and uses fans as cameos)• You cannot get fans to talk about your brand (they’ll talk about themselves first, your brandsecond)Finch’s journey into the world of Harry Potter, started 15 years ago with the release of the first bookwhen she was in her early 20s. Since then she’s bought every book and watched every movie. It’s ajourney without seeming destination but is constant in her life. When her children were old enoughto help, the stories and working on the Lego bricks became a common bond with her family.• 80% of 5-10 yr olds do not follow box directions but build an original creation (telling theirown story)• 89% of Fan Convention attendees are there to meet new people and friends compared to71% who attend to learn new skills (many-to-many)This data shows how little traditional marketers know about them. What many outsiders (includingbrands) see as odd or “geeky” is in fact the social benefit to the fan and they do it on their ownterms, often in ways that we couldn’t preempt.Commitment creates the fanWhen brands talk of fans they often fail to see the emotion (see Brands, Fans and Emotion). Theysee the cost of commitment to the story as a barrier that excludes the mass market. Too often I hearmarketing managers with their heads in the sand say “but we can’t focus on marketing to the 10%!”The cost makes the social benefit. If rebuilding Hogwarts was easy, Alice wouldn’t do it.Every fandom has a signalling cost that discerns the insiders from the out:• Alice Finch spends 1 year rebuilding Hogwarts using Lego bricks• Oakland Raider fans dress up in elaborate costumes• The Ironman tattoo• Home-made costumes made by comic fans at conventionsFans are defined by the cost of involvement. Fans are defined by the hurt, the emotion and the tears.The idea that simply “liking” a Facebook page makes you a “fan” is absurd.Once you understand how the social cost is a benefit you start to understand the emotionalcommitment between the fan and the brand. You can’t connect with fans if you’re still trying to
  4. 4. segment your market. You have to turn traditional marketing on its head and start understandingfans from their perspective and joining the dots.And that’s how you get more fans, understand their drivers. Fans commit, now you have to dolikewise. Commit to helping and understanding them. Connect Alice Finch with likeminded LegoPotter enthusiasts. Arm them with the tools that make their lives better. But, if you can’t bebothered, there’s always 5000 fans for $5.Here’s what you can do next:* If you use research in your company, the Brands, Fans and Emotion report is an excellent starterin helping you understand the emotional drivers of fans.* If you haven’t done so already, sign up to our newsletter and never miss an update. Get articleslike this sent to you every week