Facebook has officially more than 350 million users now, which means that they have a constant growth over time. The below chart indicates the various steps they made to get that far. The question is now, where will it end …? Everybody has all his relatives on the network now, mum, dad, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces … even the kids are online! Who else can join the club? Maybe cats and dogs, although some of them are on it as well …
Nearly the same day, Marc Zuckerberg, the founder of the network announced big changes in the privacy settings in the next few weeks. This announcement is done in a more constructive way as the latest terms & conditions changes that generated huge criticism by users and they had to roll back the terms & conditions.
The question now is what do those changes implicate? Well, here is a small summary of the changes:
- Removal of the regional networks: we all belong to a regional network, but as Facebook has grown, those regional networks don’t mean anything any longer. The Chinese network has several millions of users; the privacy settings based on regions don’t make any sense.
- Changes in the privacy control: this will simplify the way you control your own content (videos, images, …). Facebook will make some user friendly recommendations, but you will be able to change those individually. Let’s wait and see what this really means…
Fan Pages under the loop
350 million people is a huge audience for marketers and it is logic that everybody wants to take full advantage of this opportunity. Sysomos (a business intelligence solution for social media) had a closer look at 600.000 fan pages on Facebook and came with some interesting results. Here are some figures:
- 95% of pages have more than 10 fans
- 65% of pages have more than 100 fans
- 23% of pages have more than 1,000 fans
- 4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans
- 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans
- 0.047% of pages have more than one million fans (297 in total).
The breaking point seems to be at around 1000 fans … I have a long way to go with the TalkDigital fan page!!!
The mapping of the categories shows a big variety of subjects and services
The conclusions from Sysomos are:
- The landscape appears to be dominated by those focused on pop culture — music, celebrities, television shows, and films.
- Only 297 (or 0.05%) have more than one million fans. Facebook Pages with more than one million fans generate significantly more content than the average Facebook page: three times more content created by owners/administrators, and 70 times more content created by fans themselves.
- “Wall posts” can attract a lot of attention, there does not appear to be a significant correlation between the number of Wall posts and the popularity of a page — an active wall doesn’t necessarily imply a popular page.
This study is really interesting but unfortunately only states quantitative results. It doesn’t state how many of those 600.000 groups are completely abandoned, inactive or don’t have any particular goal. One example is “I read the group name, I laugh, I join, I never look at it again”. There are 18 different groups and 4 pages about this subject count for around 2 million members.
Fan pages can be a strong marketing tool as long as you know what you want to do with it:
- What’s the objective? Far too many brands create a fan page “to be present on facebook” but don’t have an objective! Should your fan page be considered to improve your brand awareness, increase brand engagement, as a traffic driver for you blog / website, …
- What’s the audience? Figures aren’t everything … it’s about your audience. A small, but relevant audience counts more than a zillion members that don’t give a F***. Especially in today’s scattered media landscape
- What’s the strategy to get there? A fan page is like a website, you need to stand out, be visible and talk about it, people won’t come to you (except if you’re a major brand), and you need to go to the audience and have an integrated presence through the line.