Why start a Facebook fan page?


I've long wondered why social marketers are so focused on Facebook fan pages. In much the same way that the AOL Keyword was the flavor of the week years ago; it strikes me as the medium of choice for companies that want to appear "social" with as little effort as possible. What I'm curious about though, is the impact.

Twitter, makes sense; I can communicate directly with user and draw them back to a website. YouTube, makes sense; share rich communication with potential or existing customers. Develop something viral and you can reach millions.

Why would one create and foster a Facebook fan page when they could instead promote their own site? Has anyone measured meaningful new business FROM a Facebook fan page or it is simply a badge of honor? A way of saying, look how many people like our business. What benefits have you derived from managing this micro-environment for your business, a community in which users are largely retained ON Facebook and not your website?

Marketing Facebook

asked Oct 20 '09 at 09:22
Paul O'brien
521 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
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4 Answers


As I see it, Facebook is a way to cultivate a community around your product/service, so that people can show their support for it and let it spread virally. When someone becomes your company's "Fan," they also let all of their friends know, which can be a great way to spread the word.

As I'm sure you know, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and all the other sites are simply marketing tools. It makes sense to use the ones that can get you the most traction, and Facebook is pretty high up on that list because of the sheer magnitude of users it has. Using it exclusively - or using any of those tools exclusively - is folly, since it limits your exposure when you want to be maximizing the number of people who learn about you.

answered Oct 20 '09 at 10:00
Josh Sam Bob
1,578 points
  • Great point but what validation is there that Facebook is an effective marketing tool? Does it drive traffic to your site, move product, or convert customers? I've run all of those networks mentioned and have clear results FROM each (not ON each with retweets, youtube comments, or linkedin answers; but traffic FROM each community to a product or service). Facebook has developed a platform which contains its audience so lead gen and indirect benefits are less obvious. Merely a branding vehicle? Therein, sure, sheer magnitude is nice but so is an ad on the superbowl. What's the ROI? – Paul O'brien 14 years ago
  • Good questions, Paul. I think the primary ROI value comes from the low cost - it's really only time that you're spending to brand your company on Facebook, so your value gained is ({sales * value of sale} / {time * cost of time}), and as the cost of time gets lower, the value of each sale goes up. Don't poo-poo branding, though, especially where "everyone else is doing it." Of course, it's meaningless if you're like my friend's new client - an OB/GYN - and nobody will be your "fan." But a cool new product? Just because you can't measure click-throughs doesn't mean the value isn't there. – Josh Sam Bob 14 years ago


You raise an excellent question, one we have asked ourselves.

One of the biggest problems with Facebook pages is that they are not easy to find. Also, I've facilitated a number of seminars on social media and always ask participants how they use Facebook - inevitably it is for personal reasons, occasionally people have 2 personalities, one for business, one for their personal use. This really is a personal network right now.

One of the best reasons I can think of to create a Facebook fan page for your business is to secure your business name on their site and establish a presence in case anyone does look for you there. Still, it takes work to build up fans and you're right, this effort seems to have little value for many companies (esp. B2B) considering the time that is needed.

Another prominent reason to connect on Facebook is the sheer scope of audience numbers. A recent Canadian study showed that 56% of Canadians are social media users and 80% of those are on Facebook. It helps to cast your line where the fish are swimming.

Parting thought: we've run a Canadian business directory for over 11 years. An interesting trend we noted recently is that we now get some businesses submitting their Facebook fan page as their business website - while rare these new businesses are forgoing the traditional websites altogether. It's early days still … the correct answer tomorrow could be completely different than the one today.

answered Oct 20 '09 at 11:40
Julie King
871 points


here's some of the advantages:

  1. Facebook has great metrics - if you know how to use the reports like Ad Performance, Responder Profiles etc. it will allow you to target your ads
  2. Facebook allows you to A/B testing very quickly - you can run several ads in one campaign and know within a few ads which ads have better impressions, clicks, CTRS etc.
  3. Facebook allows you to know who you audience is - in Twitter, unless you have a "verified account" you don't really know who you're talking to
  4. Facebook allows you to update your fans - I used to have to click to invite more than 1,000 people for event pages - with a fan page you can update 14,000 (yes I have a page with that much) with ONE CLICK.
  5. Branding, Branding, Branding - one URL: facebook.com/vitaminwater with LeBron and Kobe - why not their site? When was the last time you visited your favorite brand/s' site? Okay. Compare that with the answer to this question: When was the last time you opened your Facebook page.

Hope that helps.

answered Oct 21 '09 at 09:41
164 points
  • Awesome list but... 1 Nice but results are what matter 2 Also nice, in fact, awesome, but show me the money 3 Cool, but not awesome. User demographics for your business are really only meaningful for the business as a whole or if the segment drives results (note I'm not saying only valuable). We still don't know results so knowing the audience, while cool, isn't any more valuable than a feature. 4 Perhaps the crux of my point. Yes it does. How much of that results in BUSINESS? Compared to a newsletter? What about a blog which not only updates people but creates traffic through SEO? 5 See below – Paul O'brien 14 years ago
  • @Paul O'Brien 1. you could argue that your sales results is a function of your Ad Performance etc.If your Ad performance is ZERO then your sales is Zero 2. You're wasting your money if you keep using sub-par ads, the money is in the savings. 3. You need to know what are you best ads after so many iterations but you need to start somewhere 4. I know my updates reach fans who opted-in, if your newsletter has the same opt-in subscribers maybe same results? Otherwise my update button is better and faster 5. There's nothing below. – User287 14 years ago


Neil Patel just did a post on this topic. The post has a lot of great screen shots of Facebook stats on his "fans". It looks pretty cool.

I think the other reason Facebook is a good venue is that it has 350 Million users. That's a lot of potential fans.

answered Dec 6 '09 at 09:39
Jarie Bolander
11,421 points
  • Thanks Jarie, no question it is a venue on which to reach a massive audience. So is the Super Bowl ;) Bottom line is how does it compare. Neil's post is fantastic! Thanks for sharing. – Paul O'brien 14 years ago

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