When talking about social media fan growth strategies, there inevitably comes a time when you must decide: “Do we want MORE fans in general, or MORE engaged fans?” This decision comes with the subtext of “do we want a few hundred/few thousand new fans, or tens of thousands of new fans?” At first glance, the “obvious” answer is that you want more engaged fans… Well, I’m sorry to say it, but that’s a flawed conclusion, and here’s why:

Firstly, there’s no such thing as attracting an “engaged” fan. If they were already engaged… they’d already be your fan. The SINGULAR reason you have a posting strategy is to CREATE engagement, involvement, loyalty, and trust with the people who visit your page. This, by extension, means that any visitor, for whatever reason, has the potential to become an engaged consumer.

Secondly, the larger a community is, the larger your reach is. This is always a huge factor to keep in mind. A community with 1,000 fans doesn’t inspire new visitors to want to join. A community with 50,000 fans makes a consumer think “there must be a reason why so many people are fans, let me see what this is all about.” When users land on your page they look at size (as measured by number of page likes). From our experience, communities with fewer than 10k fans suffer, 30k+ fans begin to become a real community, and 50k+ fans starts to be self-sustaining.

Thirdly, from a more technical standpoint, a “fan” is just another advertisement waiting to happen. What I mean by that is that just by YOU being connected with THEM, your brand will show up more often in the places that your desired “engaged” fans are. Maybe it’s just your name showing up in their recent page likes, or Pinterest’s followed boards, or Twitter’s followings, or Instagram’s followings, I think you see the point here. But also, when you’re ready to run PPC ads to a targeted audience, “suggested posts” or “sponsored ads” leverage the current fans to target possible fans by saying “JOHN SMITH” likes [insert your brand here] and these ads have extremely high click-to-like rates.

There are many reasons as to why quantity should win over quality, but I’ll summarize it by saying this:

If you run a fan acquisition initiative and gain 30k fans, and only 15% of them are “engaged” at the start… you’d have gained 4,500 engaged fans (which, by the way is what you may have gained if you only targeted engaged customers in the first place), however, you now have a chance to convert many more…

So, if you convert another 15% of those leftover fans through your posting and engagement strategy… you would have added 3,825 more engaged fans to the roster… (leftover fans = 25,500 x 15%) and there are still 21,675 that you can continue to try and engage, use as leverage for suggested posts, or who are just simply housing your brand name on their Facebook feeds.

How many of those can you convert? How many “engaged” fans can those “non-engaged” fans foster? Who knows?

But on the flip-side, if you’d never attracted them at all, I can assure you that the answer to all of those is: none.