In the past, the success of brand pages on social media sites has been evaluated based on the number of “likes,” friends, fans or followers it has, but times are changing. While these “likes” can be the first step in growing a strong customer following and solid CRM they don’t necessarily speak to the personal relationship or level of interaction a consumer has with a particular brand. Although some consumers may choose to only “like” a brand page when they are loyal customers, many will do it on a whim or because an introductory offer is available for those who “like” the page. With this in mind, some brands are dedicating themselves to find ways that can enhance these relationships and convert basic fans to serious fans.

Social e-Commerce experts, Moontoast, developed an easy to follow diagram of the anatomy of a fan:

One of the main ideas here is evolving your fans on five levels (from lowest to highest): potential fans, engaged fans, advocate fans, purchasing fans and super fans. Social media strategist, Amy Porterfield, offers nine marketing strategies for brands on Facebook that want to create super fans:

  1. Give your page a human touch – Entertain fans by communicating with personality.
  2. Become a content machine – Constantly use different media forms to communicate and learn which ones your fans prefer (i.e. video, images, text).
  3. Cultivate engagement with two-way dialogue – Never let a chance to thank a fan for reaching out pass you by.
  4. Create consistent calls to action – It can be as simple as “watch this” or “click here.”
  5. Make word-of-mouth advocacy easy – Consumers trust other consumer opinions more so than the word of a brand, so make it easy for fans to share with one another.
  6. Encourage fan-to-fan conversation – Turn your brand page into a community and let consumers know you appreciate them. Use recognition through “fan of the week” competitions to highlight top contributing fans and openly acknowledge them on your page so other fans can learn more.
  7. Focus on smart branding – Develop your Facebook page as an extension of your Web site so your efforts seem fluid, but avoid the redundancy of information that will bore consumers.
  8. Be deliberate and manage expectations – Don’t create a Facebook page without a goal. When your page is clear about what it has to offer your fans will understand its purpose.
  9. Monitor, measure, and track – Determine what you want to achieve, what elements indicate the page’s success and the regularity of evaluation.

Beyond the various levels of fandom, Facebook recently launched a new metric named “People Talking About.” The statistical rating of People Talking About with be a direct reflection of the page’s level of compelling content. Fans’ actions of posting on a page, “liking” a comment, commenting on a post, sharing a post or content from the page, answering a question posed by the brand, mentioning the page and checking in at your location will all affect your People Talking About rating. The ultimate result here is that brands will find the need to create pages that are more engagement-worthy.

While it certainly sounds like a valuable tool, it will not differentiate between comments or actions that speak negatively of the brand and those that praise it. It seems the idea here is ‘no press is bad press.’

Do you think this will be a valuable metric or will it simply be another way to collect numbers in social media?