7 popular types of Facebook fans (and how to react and market to them)

When using Facebook to market your business online and connect with current and prospective customers, your fans are critical to your success. But not all Facebook fans are created equal, and one “like” might not mean the same as the next. That’s why it’s important to understand your fans (and critics!) and what their Facebook personas mean for your business.

Here is a look at seven common types of Facebook fans, why they are connecting with businesses on Facebook, and what they mean to you.

1) The Quiet Follower

This customer likes or follows your business on Facebook to see updates from your brand, but they don’t have much to say and don’t engage with your content. According to the 1 percent rule, about 90 percent of people online consume content but don’t contribute.

However, it’s a good idea to try to generate engagement from these fans by testing what, when, and how you post content. Ask fans to “like” a status update or photo. Experiment with posting images, contests, and questions. The more you can get silent fans to engage with your posts, the more your posts will show up in their News Feeds.

2) The Casual Liker

This type of fan liked your business on Facebook because they enjoy the content you share. You can get more out of the “liker” by adding strong calls to action on your posts that cause fans to share your content.

In asking people to share your posts, you can help turn the occasional likers into brand ambassadors.

3) The Deal Seeker

Access to exclusive deals, coupons, incentives, and events draw this type of Facebook fan to your business. One report showed that 58 percent of Facebook users expect access to promotions after “liking” a brand on Facebook.

Many businesses find success hosting a weekly or monthly deal on Facebook. Companies who regularly post sales, coupons, and contests also give new customers an incentive to follow them on social media, which can help grow your follower base.

4) The Unhappy Customer

More and more people are using Facebook to communicate a poor experience with a brand and to share it with others. Often, what they’re looking for is a more timely response or better customer service.

To minimize the impact of upset customer comments on Facebook, it’s critical to include social media in your reputation management process so that your business can respond in a timely manner. Monitor your page for feedback and complaints, and respond quickly so as to communicate that you are listening and you care. Set up a dedicated email address or phone number to publish publicly online to better address the customer’s needs directly. Your initial public response will also reflect to fans that you put customers first.

5) The Ranter

Negative Facebook comments for a variety of issues that are often not related with a specific experience with your business are common. Political, ideological, culture, or other personal issues can draw the critic persona to your Facebook page to share their personal opinions and cast your business in a negative light.

To help protect your business from critics, avoid making controversial public statements to the public at large unless you’re prepared for the backlash.

6) The Cheerleader

Passionate Facebook fans “like,” comment on, and share almost every post from your business. They spread the word about your business to their networks and add personality to your page. They build momentum within your community and make it a fun and interesting place to be.

So, do the same for them. Highlight them in a “fan of the week” feature, share their user-generated content (photos and videos), and ask them to participate in promotions and campaigns for your business.

7) The Loyal Fan

You’d know the name of this type of fan if they walked in to your business today. They were doing word-of-mouth marketing for you long before Facebook. This fan has a lifetime customer value that is sky high because of the referrals they have sent your business.

Find unique and special ways to include them in your Facebook community. Consider asking them to be in a video testimonial that captures their success working with your business or using your products or services. Share your appreciation for their long-term business through loyalty programs and discounts.

Tiffany Monhollon shares practical tips and insights about reaching consumers across the web as a blogger for ReachLocal (NASDAQ:RLOC). Follow her on Twitter and Google+.