6 ways of thanking Facebook fans


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It is becoming a sort of tradition, isn’t it? When a brand reaches a given symbolic Facebook fan number, they look into original ways to thank these fans. Every brand tries to be as creative as possible in doing so. When checking out a lot of examples, I noticed a recurrent pattern of some 6 approaches. I listed these helped by the excellent job done by Paul Van Veenendaal and presented on his blog.

  1. Giving existing fans an extra financial advantage: all fans can win a unique discount, to celebrate together that a symbolic number of Facebook fans has been reached.
  2. A thank you from the management: fans love knowing that a company’s management appreciates their loyalty. When someone from the top of the company expresses the gratitude, this is appreciated.
  3. Giving extra background information on the company: loyal fans love taking a peek behind the scenes. They often want to know more than the general news. That is why they appreciate learning more. A one millionth fan can be a nice occasion of doing so.
  4. Trying to thank the fans as personally as possible: social media are about connections between people. The more personal the communication between a brand and its customers, the better. Some companies manage to personally thank millions of people, which is always great.
  5. Making a unique product linked to the Facebook fans: fans love the brands and products they become a friend of. To thank them, certain brands develop a special product for their fans or they build a unique and once-off product.
  6. Giving a nice prize to the fan who reaches the symbolic number: “Our 1 millionth fan will get a great trip to the Bahamas” could be an example. One single person gets a great prize. This is the most dangerous of all tactics, as existing fans might be very disappointed. If you give a new fan a prize, it is recommended to also do something for the existing fans (or for the first one ever).

In the meantime plenty of cases are available on how Facebook fans have been thanked. Below I am quoting one example for each of the tactics.

Case 1: Southwest Airlines gives a 50% discount

A few weeks back Southwest Airlines reached the symbolic 3 millionth Facebook fan. To celebrate this and to thank the existing fans, the company gave 50% discounts. When booking a flight via the fan page to a large number of destinations, the ticket could be purchased at half price.

Case 2: A Burberry’s top manager sent a message

Did you know that about 60% of the Burberry marketing budget is spent on digital media? Social media are at the centre of this fashion brand’s marketing mix. At the end of 2011 the brand welcomed its 10 millionth fan. By means of celebration they made a video message, the main character being Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative Officer at Burberry.

Case 3: Disney tells the story of its Facebook page

In December 2010 Disney reached its 100 millionth fan (!) across its 200 official Facebook pages. Early on in the process Disney started posting unique content. The brand is consciously searching for interaction with its fans via its numerous pages. And it appears this strategy works. To celebrate the 100 millionth fan, Disney made a video on the unique story behind its Facebook pages, in order to show the fans how this success grew. Furthermore the film contains a lot of great facts about the fans.

Case 4: Kraft personally thanks its fans

Is it possible to thank thousands of fans personally? Kraft proves it is. In a jolly song they mention the names of more than 4000 fans, in writing or in singing. I think this is simply a very funny and charming way to involve people in your marketing. Quoting people’s names will do the trick. Ever noticed how people tend to look the longest at pictures they themselves are in?

Case 5: Porsche puts the fans’ pictures on a car

This Porsche case has already been used twice in detail by Leo Verdonck on Marketingfacts. By putting the pictures of the fans on a real Porsche, you obviously give an ego-boost to the fans of such a brand. Porsche did it a first time when they welcomed the one millionth fan and they repeated it when they reached 2 million. Curious to see what will happen when they get to 5 million!

Case 6: easyJet gives its 50.000th fan a phenomenal prize

Another strategy is giving a large prize to the person who reaches the symbolic number. When airline easyJet wanted to celebrate their 50.000th fan in March, they decided to give that person an impressive prize: 2 tickets allowing him/her to fly 50.000 km together with a friend or a family member. Winning such a prize must be wonderful, but I can imagine that a lot of the early-days fans are disappointed that they are not getting anything.

These are 6 examples and tactics that I noticed. Do you know of other fun ways of thanking Facebook fans for their loyalty?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Van Belleghem
Steven Van Belleghem is inspirator at B-Conversational. He is an inspirator, a coach and gives strategic advice to help companies better understand the world of conversations, social media and digital marketing. In 2010, he published his first book The Conversation Manager, which became a management literature bestseller and was awarded with the Marketing Literature Prize. In 2012, The Conversation Company was published. Steven is also part time Marketing Professor at the Vlerick Management School. He is a former managing partner of the innovative research agency InSites Consulting.


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