This is a question which I have put myself today. Are these brands that have few million fans, lying to themselves? Are those fans really from their target group and target countries? Should we really look up to them?

million facebook fans

I’ve seen many companies and talked to a lot of social media managers, mostly they start good. They do good content, they target people who are really customers and possible customers. But at one moment in time they fall into a trap, someone from the upper management or even they want to see the brand having millions of fans and a lot of engagement with the smallest possible investment. Why? To be the brand who has the most “Fans” or at least, be between the big ones in their industry, a race that brings them nowhere but makes them feel good. It’s actually because people want more and more, they are never pleased with what they have.

What does this deviation from the target group actually mean? Well, it means targeting countries and targeting groups that are not relevant to the company, but who are very active, easy to get a like from and cheap. A list of country CPM/CPC list which might be outdated but which can be used as a reference is here: Facebook Advertising: CPC/CPM per country

Of course, the Social Media Manager who would focus only on those target groups and target countries that are not relevant, would be stupid, because there are also other things that are important such as a good fan base from the target countries to convert them into customers.

Big brands are focusing on both in the same time, but at the end of the day they will have 100.000 people from the US and with the other half of the budget another 640.000 fans from Indonesia (raw calculation without any other factors – 200.000$ budget with 1$ for US and 0.166$ for Indonesia).

I used SocialBakers to get some data on what is happening and selected 3 brands that came to my mind:

– Swarovski (SocialBakers data) has from its current 3.7 million likers:

  • 650.000 fans from Indonesia (17%) -> No online shop
  • 266.000 fans from Serbia(7.1%) -> No online shop
  • 252.200 fans from Italy (7%) -> Online shop available
  • 188.718 fans from the United States (5.3%)  -> Online shop available
  • 161.000 fans from Malaysia (4.3%),  – No online shop
  • 153.716 fans from Thailand (4.1%) -> No online shop

From the top 6 countries they have 32.5% fans from countries where there is no online shop and only 12.3% where there is an online shop.

I am not saying there are no local offline shops over there, and I am not saying that those country suck or whatever, just that the total number looks cool but when you split it,  it looses it’s shine. And that’s because of the fan gathering race, at least I think.

– Kaspersky (SocialBakers data) has from its current 2.8 million likers:

  • 597.000 fans from Indonesia (21.1%) -> No online shop
  • 246.000 fans from Pakistan (8.7%)  -> No online shop
  • 183.000 fans from Mexico (6.5%) -> Online shop available
  • 172.000 fans from India (6.1%)  -> Online shop available
  • 153.000 fans from Philippines (5.4%) -> No online shop
  • 140.000 fans from Egypt (5%) -> No dedicated online shop

From the top 6 countries they have 40.5% fans from countries where there is no online shop and only 12.6% where there is an online shop.

I see Indonesia again on the top, are they really so social media addicted? Let’s see further.

– BlackBerry (SocialBakers Data)  has from its current  29 million likers:

  • 4 million fans from Indonesia (13.9%) -> website available
  • 3.6 million fans from the United States (12.4%) -> website available
  • 3.1 million fans from India (10.7%) -> website available
  • 3 million fans from Mexico (10.4%) -> website available
  • 1.4 million fans from Venezuela (5%) -> website available
  • 1.2 million fans from the UK (4.4%) – website available

Looks good, they have at least websites for all the countries. But why Indonesia and India again in the top countries?

I am rather skeptical that those companies are doing their main businesses according to their top fans. What do you think?

There are much more big names in this game, but they hide this fan acquisition method by focusing on their  target countries and using the rest of the countries to push up their numbers. They have for example 20 million out of 30 million for their top 4 countries, the rest are for the bigger image. Good played.

I don’t want to throw dirt on all the brands, some play by the book, but a small secret is unavoidable.

My advice to you is to play nice, you will have fewer fans but more valuable. And if you really want to target countries where prices seem low, please let it also reflect how you business stands there.