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According to the social intelligence and marketing analysts at Syncapse, the value of a Facebook fan increased 28 percent since 2010, and fan membership on many brand pages doubled or even tripled in that time. The average worth of a brand fan is now $174.

Syncapse’s latest survey sought to understand why Facebook users become brand fans in the first place. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the research shows 78 percent fans have preexisting experience with a brand before becoming fans.

This is important. It means that any brand, whether it is a multinational pop icon like Pepsi or a local name like RBA of Central PA, acquires the bulk of its fans through preexisting relationships.

High-Quality vs. Low-Quality Fans


The study makes a distinction between high- and low-quality fans. High-quality fans are, generally, those who had dealings with a brand before becoming fans, and are likely to be repeat customers. Such fans tend to engage more on the brand’s profile page, advocate more for the brand and are generally loyal consumers. High-quality fans also tend to attract other high-quality fans.

Low-quality fans tend to be bargain hunters, or, as Syncapse refers to them, “brand-promiscuous deal hunters.” (I love that expression, by the way.) Such fans are drawn by the offer of coupons or discounts but have little loyalty and little worth.

Why Do People Fan Brands?

Through a survey, Syncapse identified multiple reasons people fan brands. The top five reasons include:

  • Supporting a brand I like: 49 percent
  • Getting a coupon or discount: 42 percent
  • Receiving frequent brand updates: 41 percent
  • Participating in contests: 35 percent
  • Sharing my personal experiences: 31 percent.

(If the math seems wonky, it’s because people were able to identify multiple motivators for fanning brands.)

This survey gives some great insight into why people have clicked that Like button in the past… and what you need to do to attract new fans and retain old ones.

Recommendations for Fan Retention

While coupons ranked high among the reasons to fan a brand, Syncapse cautions against offering coupons simply for clicking the Like button, due to the tactic’s association with low-quality fans. Offering coupons to existing fans is a different matter, as they are already engaged with your brand with or without a coupon incentive.

Syncapse recommends companies drop the “coupon for likes” approach in favor of converting more existing customers into fans. Offer consumers emotional reasons for becoming fans, whether it be sharing their experiences with others or engaging in a dialogue with the brand. Brands that listen to fan feedback often have a strong and high-quality fan base.

Most importantly, Syncapse suggests brands take a long look at the strategies they use to acquire fans and compare them to why people actually fan brands. If your social media campaign is out of whack with the reasons people actually become fans, you’ll have minimal results for a potentially expensive outlay. Think of that old show business maxim, and give your audience what it wants, not what you think it needs.

Posted by Adrienne Erin

Adrienne Erin is a social media marketing writer and blogger. She loves following the trends and reading up about the latest research in the marketing industry, so you don’t have to. Read more of her work on her blog Pongra.

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