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Yesterday someone approached me asking me if I could help them get to a million fans.
Of course, I told them we could, but that we don’t recommend chasing (or buying) fans for a variety of reasons.

What matters today is your business objective– growing leads, sales, registrations, event attendance, awareness, marketshare, and so forth.

Now that we can tell Facebook what our objectives are, we let their algorithms to do work (via ads).

If you choose fans as your objective, you’ll perhaps get more people who will like your page, but not folks aligned with your business objective.

The more exclusive your product, the higher the price, and the greater level of intellect required to buy it, the more distortion this causes.

The folks you want might actually be less inclined to click “like” on a page.
College educated folks are half as likely to click on ads– heck, do you?
And the cost of hitting folks over 30 is at least double that of teenagers.
Even if you age target, the people who are more inclined to click like on a bunch of stuff have more free time and lower income.

These factors all add up to you growing a fan base that doesn’t engage in the long-run nor convert.
At which point many people blame Facebook for not working for their niche or taking away organic reach.

Consider that in many cases, your content may have greater impact via impressions, even if there’s no click.

Discerning buyers, executives, and business owners, might not click on your ad nor become a fan, but be more likely to visit your store.

They’re more likely to talk to you in person at the tradeshow, speak highly of you to a friend, and be more likely to click on your Google search results.

All this without a click and denied to you if you seek fan growth as your objective.

People become a fan only AFTER they’ve had a great experience with you, not before.
So seek to delight them and they will happily reciprocate at no cost when the timing is right for them.

You’re heard of correlation versus causation– where people abuse statistics, confusing cause and effect.

When I am wearing a suit, I am more likely to attend a funeral, but it doesn’t mean that wearing suits will cause loved ones to die prematurely.

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And so with Facebook, having a lot of fans is an indirect measure of having created influence first.
It’s not that having a lot of fans suddenly makes me influential.

I care about fan count only in three narrow cases:

  • To increase friend of fan reach in my ads— creating social endorsement (“Michael likes this”).
  • An indirect gauge of my other marketing efforts— sometimes a TV or offline campaign drives Facebook growth even if you’re not doing anything on Facebook.
  • Optics— for the nearly negligible reason that a higher fan count tells some people you’re more legitimate or trustworthy.

What are your business goals and the corresponding goals for your personal branding efforts?
Are you seeking to delight first, doing such an amazing job that people have no choice but to share?