Content on Facebook: What Separates a Popular Fan Page from the Rest?

By Kathleen Barth

Facebook fan pages are an excellent way to track and share new products with consumers. As always, content is king, and you may be surprised by what the most important factors of Facebook content are. There is a large difference between generally active fan pages and fan pages with extremely active fans, and only part of it has to do with the previous popularity of the brand. By examining the returns on a variety of different surveys and reports I was able to elucidate what allows a Facebook fan page maximize its impact.

Owner Content

Pages with over 1 million fans have 3 times as much owner-generated content, compared to the average fan page. The most popular types of content, in order, are:

  1. Image with text
  2. Image
  3. Video
  4. Text
  5. External link
  6. Poll

Among pages with over a million fans, the average had 70.4 pieces of owner-generated content. The top reasons fans choose to follow a page include:

  1. Being treated in a special way by the brand (95%)
  2. Be spokesman for brand (94%)
  3. Talk/interaction (77%)

The top two reasons to follow a brand are for promotional benefits (84%) and because the fans already enjoy the product (89%).

83% of fans would like more exclusives from the Facebook page, whether via special offers or Facebook-only content. In general, fans appreciate pages that have numerous applications (such as games) that are exclusive to Facebook. In order to raise the value of liking a brand on Facebook it is important not to duplicate content from other sources, such as Twitter.

The most important content, whether it be text or app, has a specific call to action for the fans. An especially successful campaign for the NBA had fans fill out a poll asking questions like, “Which dunk was best?” After the fan took the poll, it was shared on their wall and friends with similar interests would take the poll as well, while also friending the NBA. This drove millions of hits to the NBA.com website as well as boosting their fan page.

Another way to successfully gain fan interaction is to ask them for their opinion, such as an Anheuser-Busch campaign where fans chose the design of their next beer bottle. A sense of competition can help fans enlist their friends for their “side.”

It is useful to remain interactive with your fans conversations, but posting too often in fans discussions make them feel like they’re being monitored. Wall posts can attract a lot of attention and maintain fan interaction, but there is not a significant correlation between the number of wall posts and the popularity on a page—an active wall does not necessarily mean a popular page.

Frequency of posts are extremely important. The fan needs to feel that there is a reason to check into the Facebook page often, but too frequent content is also the 2nd most cited reason for unfriending a fan page.  The best choice is generally thought to be 2-3 posts a day.

Lastly, people that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users; it is important owner content is viewable to mobile fans.

Fan Content

The top reasons fans join a brand page is to,

  1. Find discounts (42%)
  2. Just love products (33%)
  3. Get latest news on products (24%)
  4. Give company ideas on how to improve products (12%)
  5. Get customer service (12%)
  6. Complain (6%)

Fans enjoy feeling like they’re being treated in a special way by the brand (95%) when they join the fan page. 94% wish to be a spokesman for the brand, but only 77% look to fan pages as a source of talk and interaction. 49% of the average Facebook users consider it a source of entertainment; only 32% consider a source of communication.

If you fan a page on Facebook, it is likely you use the product regularly or occasionally (84%). Enticing users to try a product should not occupy the bulk of your content, as it is likely your fans already use it.

Pages with more than one million fans have 60 times more fan-generated content than the average Facebook page. The average user writes 25 comments on Facebook each month. But a large portion of this content is off-topic: 15% of posts are likely self-promotional and 6% are often non-sequiturs.

The top reasons to unsubscribe from a fan page are:

  1. No longer interested in brand (32%)
  2. Information published too frequently (27%)
  3. Information not interesting (22%)
  4. Information not liked by fan (12%)
  5. Not publishing frequently enough (7%)

Improving Visibility

The most popular categories for pages with over a million fans are celebrities, music, and products. The top liked brands are all entertainment/media. Facebook pages are most often found via ads (75%), friend invites (59%), and via search (49%). By generating fan content that they share on their wall to friends, you are likely to solicit more fans. 41% of fans found a fan page after receiving an e-mail asking them to join. The chances of a fan recommending a fan page on Facebook to a friend is 92%.

It is also important to maintain a constant look to all sites, whether your Facebook, Twitter, or personal page. This makes it visually identifiable as the official site of your brand.

Lastly, following your brand on other sources, such as Twitter, and replying to these mentions with links to joining your fan page (without seeming disingenuous) can help improve the number of fans you have.

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