In the beginning, mortals like me were led to believe that social media was more of an art than science. So, most of my working life was spent creating awesome content, slick looking pages and top of the line apps. Though these were useful, interactive and engaging, I always was thinking about what lay beyond all this. No, not exactly meta-physical level thinking; more like branding level thinking; and this led me to stumble upon the old school thought of "7 Stages of a Brand".
And since there ain't no school like old school, I started juxtaposing the thought with whatever Iittle/more I was doing on the Facebook Page and it all fit together like a charm. Suddenly my life was making more sense and I knew where I was headed.
Here is how the theory goes: there are 7 stages in the life-cycle of a brand and through your efforts you can try to achieve all the levels. But it's easier said than done because there are only a few brands like the Harley Davidson, Apple or Nike that have managed to achieve this. Many are still aspiring while others have perished trying.
7 signs of aging for a Facebook Page
This is how the stages play out. It begins with Awareness, goes onto Recall and then forces a Trial, then a Re-Trial resulting into an Association which grows into Loyalty and finally Evangelism. Eureka! Sounds like the stuff my gainfully employed friend from IIM would say but this definitely made sense.
In Facebook Page parlance this is how it works: you start a Facebook Page and nobody knows about it. So you go all out to tell people through ads or get a Friend to Like the Page etc., and voila! You have created Awareness about the Campaign or the Page.
Through either Wall Updates or Shares or Ads , users come across your Facebook Page communication again. This time they may either remember some interaction or they may have a Recall but you have to yet make a significant impact on them.
Finally they are all well acquainted with your Page. They may have seen many of their friends Like it, or either directly or indirectly have had some interaction with it, so they pay the Page a visit, check around.
You have either managed to put up good updates or an amazing App or something cool and so the user visits your page again. That is your Re-Trial.
Finally your efforts pay-off and if you have been consistent enough with the buzz/ content and quality, the users start perceiving you as trustworthy/ cool and Like your page. They are happy to be Associated with you, like your content, share stuff and interact. This of course may be short lived; like two or three times max. This is where the Chasm lies. You need to cross this stage to prove your stickiness.
Now we get into the heady heights of Loyalty. Users interact and engage almost always, Like most of your posts and comment regularly, participate in conversations, answer stuff and play the app etc. Very few pages exhibit this behavior, where a contest or an update is preceded in number, in terms of participation, than the older one. This is a good stage to achieve but takes time, patience and brilliant content to keep users Loyal.
Finally Evangelism, there ain't no bigger status than this. You have created a user base which goes out there and talks to friends/ family about your Facabook Page. A small analogy is a Follow Friday, (on Twitter: #ff). This is the strongest position to be in and once here, one has to make sure that there is a steady flow of Fans/ Interactions/ Participation etc. From here on, your concern will be to maintain and/or supersede your previous efforts. Congratulations! You have now achieved Cult status! :)
There can be shorts-cuts and sometimes you might see overlapping, but the majority of your base would exhibit a certain "stage" for you to determine the next set of action.
One can argue that this is some more of the-usual-nonsense-about-facebook-pages and the only way to go is just good old fashioned creative writing, etc., etc., but one has to admit that this theory certainly adds another perspective to the pandemonium.
So, which stage is your Page at?