I was having a discussion on Twitter the other night and we were discussing a brand’s fans. A passion topic of mine, but after a few minutes I realized something: The other person was talking about FACEBOOK fans, I was talking about Brand Advocates.
They are completely different groups. That’s not to say that someone that Fans your Facebook Page can’t also be an advocate, but we know that the top reason people Fan a Facebook page, is to get discounts. Brand Advocates aren’t looking for compensation or incentives in most cases, they want acknowledge and empowerment.
Yet I fear that Social Media in some ways is corrupting how brands view its customers. We are teaching companies that ‘Fans’ on Facebook are something to be collected like baseball cards, and that they should target ‘influencers’ like bloggers and power Twitter users.
Brand Advocates are special customers that are motivated by a love of your brand and a desire to make sure that everyone else sees your brand in the same light that they do. The amount of motivation that a Facebook Fan has for your brand is usually directly proportional to the value of the ‘prize’ they receive from Fanning your page.
Which would you rather have?