Can 1,000 Facebook Fans be worth more than 20,000 newspaper readers, radio listeners or TV viewers?
The answer is yes! When you understand the difference between fans on your Facebook page and people you reach with traditional media such as radio, newspaper or TV, it’s easy to understand how you can generate more sales with a smaller audience on Facebook than a larger audience on traditional mass media. The difference is a high percentage of your fans on Facebook are already predisposed to do business with you, while a smaller percentage of people reached with traditional mass media will not have that same interest.
Imagine you are selling furniture. When you build a “fan base” it is likely most of your Fans will be people who like your store. But when you advertise in a newspaper, you are probably paying to reach many people who may not like your store. Which is better, 100% of 1,000 people that like your business or 2% of 20,000 people that may like your business?
In addition to the ability of focusing on your best potential customers, Facebook gives you the ability to interact and bond with your fan base, even if you have not yet done business with them. With traditional mass media, you have no way of directly interacting with the audience. The ability to directly interact with your fans also gives you unprecedented control over the loyalty with your customer base and the way your customers think about your business.
Now, let’s compare how you actually reach your audience on Facebook and how you reach an audience on traditional media. With Facebook, you reach your audience with what are called posts. With traditional media you reach your audience with spots or print ads. The number of people reached with spots and print ads is limited to the size of the audience of that media. You cannot change that. But with Facebook, a well timed and researched post can expand your audience by many times the number of fans on your page. This is due to the viral effect that is inherent to social media. With traditional media, the closest thing to creating a viral effect is creating word of mouth. This is very difficult to achieve on any regular basis with traditional mass media.
Here is how the viral effect works. When you create a post that your fans either like, comment on, or share, their friends will see it. If your fans each have an average of 200 friends, and you get 20 of them to share your post, the 4,000 friends of those fans will see your post. So, even though you only have 1,000 fans, 4,000 people see your post. And it is likely the friends of your fans are likeminded and could become fans of your Facebook page.
Now, let’s talk about cost. In general the cost of traditional media is based on a ratio of the number of people reached per dollar. Typically a media such as radio costs anywhere from $8.00 to $20.00 per thousand people reached. In a market such as Harrisburg, you can buy ads on one of the top stations for around $10.00 per thousand depending on the size of the ad schedule, and time of day the ads run. This station may have an average of 6,000 people listening when your ad runs. Therefore, at a cost of $10 per thousand an ad would cost $60. To reach 20,000 impressions you would need to run 3.33 ads costing $200. But if you have a fan base of 1,000 people with an average of 200 friends each, and create a post that gets 20 shares, you will get 4,000 impressions. To get 20,000 impressions, you would need to create four posts that get 20 shares each.
The difference is there is no charge for the use of Facebook. But depending on how you value your time, the cost of creating the posts can vary. But perhaps more significant, the 20,000 impressions created with Facebook is comprised of a much better qualified audience because it is leveraged off your fan base, compared to a more general audience on radio.
In our next installment on Facebook Versus Traditional Mass media, we will talk about the advantages of a media mix employing traditional mass media, Facebook and other digital media.