A fan, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person with an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking and enthusiasm for something. Fans of a particular thing or person constitute its fanbase or fandom. They often show their enthusiasm by starting a fan club, holding fan conventions, creating fanzines, writing fan mail, or promoting the object of their interest and attention. –Wiki
In simple words, Fans are people who love what you do. They will adapt to various means to express this love to you. They are distributed over geography and until now used various means to reach you and get a response from you.
Lately, Twitter Followers and Facebook Fanpage has become the new billboard to keep track of your fans. All at one place. A click on “Like” or “Follow” is the most frictionless way of expressing that I love you and like what you do. As a side effect, i will get an update of everything you say here on.
What is even more interesting is that there is a publicly available count of how many people love you. And when you have a quantity to track, a marketing job is created, irrespective of whether its the right the metrics to track.
Increasing the fan count is what the marketer sets his target for. And he motivates people to declare they are fans. Motivation through contests with a promise of lots of materialistic rewards. And there are many who are ready for a quick chance as all it takes is a click.
Here’s my point, making someone a fan through a contest for materialistic rewards is like prostitution and not love. Love is somebody who cares for you and might not have really slept with you, that is a real fan, who not necessarily has clicked on the “Like button”. Everyone who slept with you for money does not care for you, will not give you a shoulder to cry when you are in pain and is not someone who will buy your product. He has only clicked on a button.
But for marketeers it’s becoming like high school sex. You only want to increase the count of how many you have slept with, may be to boast around with friends. With paid fans, Fanpages have become a scoreboard that mixes the count of who have had sex with you and who made love with you. The line is almost invisible. Something to feel about and cannot be tracked by the marketeers boss.
Apart from going for paid sex, there is another type of highschool kid who would go all around the campus saying “Please love me, Please love me” to every other girl. Rather saying, “Say the world, you love me” by clicking on this piece of HTML code, but he will never do anything to love you. All he will say is, “tell the world you love me”. Even when the girl comes to his room or is ready to go on a first date, the kid would be moving around her with the HTML code that will announce to his friends that he has laid one more babe, even before the date started.
You pollute your fanpage and then wonder why the CTR is falling. You topped the university and go about telling this to every girl who you slept with and still no one bothers, she doesn’t tell this to her roommates. Instead of a network effect kicking in and you getting more babes to lay your hands on, all you get is a “kiss my butt, sucker!” from your so called fans.
My dear marketing gurus, Social media is about earning your permissions and not buying it. The paid fans will only increase a certain metrics by 1 but tracking that metrics itself is wrong. One might argue that its a good number to show off, to attract customers and give social proof, as in “so many are happily in love with me , you should try too“. But she would know the truth between love making and sex once you are on bed. No use getting her to bed if you really don’t get a chance to do anything else. Again, getting her to bed is the wrong metrics to track, your real aim was something beyond that.
I really feel sorry for those sites who put a fan page widget right on the homepage and make Facebook the authority of your love, more like what MTV does for the music industry. On pure observation i can say there are probably more sites driving traffic to Facebook then Facebook drving traffic to them.
Facebook monetised this even more and changed the button form “become a fan” to “Like”. A simple copy change that removed the mental friction as users realise that ‘becoming a fan’ is a long term commitment as opposed to ‘liking’ something once. This resulted in more fans getting added and that made the poor highschool kid marketeer more happy. He will take time to realize that he was tricked.
Probably until he really works on his offering and finds real love.
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]