Alexander Santo

Gamification has been a major trend in social media for a while now, and the Facebook badge system takes the fun to a new level. If you’re not familiar with the idea behind gamification, it’s the process of adding elements from game playing to other activities.

In social media marketing, game elements increase user engagement and make the user experience more enjoyable.

Like a scouting badge you might get for first aid skills or community service, the Facebook fan badge rewards a Facebook user for contributing to the online community in positive ways. The top fan badge is a new feature awarded to business page followers who are active and engaged with the brand’s posts.

Social media marketers should pay close attention to Facebook badges because they can add a valuable layer of interactivity with new and returning customers through an existing channel (Facebook account) with a captive audience.

What Is a Top Fan on Facebook?

Badges are a Facebook feature that give page followers an extra incentive to like, comment and share your posts. A top fan is someone who is very active on your page. They are the familiar faces who drive conversations, participate in online events and, ultimately, are likely to convert to paying customers.

Once a Facebook page follower has met the qualifications for becoming a top fan (more on that later) they will get a notification. The user must choose to display the top fan badge, which will only appear when they post on your page. Here’s an overview of the feature:

  • Qualified users can toggle their top fan badge on and off from the community tab of your page.
  • When on, the badge will appear next to the user’s name when they mention your brand, make comments on your business page and send private messages to your page.
  • A list of top fans will appear on the community tab of your page. This list is visible to all visitors.
  • Your page’s top fans list will update weekly. Top fans who haven’t engaged with your page in a while may lose their status, but they can regain it by increasing their activity again.

Why Should Brand Marketers Care About Facebook Badges?

Gameplay elements like badges increase user engagement, a valuable metric for digital marketers. Users who engage with social media content are more likely to recall brand messaging and convert to a sales lead. According to Salesforce research, 84% of customers today believe that the experience a company provides is just as important as the products and services it offers . Online interactions are a major piece of that experience.

Badges make social media interactions more fun.

The top fan badge in particular encourages followers to read your posts, absorb the content and contribute to conversations. There’s also the valued commenter badge, which rewards users for leaving comments on posts.

If your business also manages a Facebook group, there’s even more badges you can take advantage of, including:

  • New member: Recognizes new members and makes them feel welcome.
  • Group anniversary: Acknowledges members who have been in your group for a year or more.
  • Founding member: Celebrates the users who helped launch your group.
  • Conversation starter: Acknowledges users who start threads and spark conversations.
  • Greeter: Rewards users who make new members feel welcome.
  • Visual storyteller: Awards members who regularly post videos and images.
  • Link curator: Acknowledges users who share links that get positive engagement.
  • Rising star: Recognizes new members who make a big splash in their first month with the group.
  • Conversation booster: Awards users who reply to threads and keep conversations moving.

These badges can increase the sense of community around your brand and help you to maintain interest in your pages and groups. Users who earn the top fan badge can act as advocates for your brand, spreading your messages organically to other Facebook users. It’s a fresh, inviting way to further maximize your Facebook marketing efforts.

How to Turn Top Fan Badges On or Off

Adding the badges feature to your page is simple:

  1. Open your brand page.
  2. Select the settings menu.
  3. Select the Facebook Badges option.
  4. Toggle the feature on or off.

How to Give and Get Top Fan Badges

Once you’ve turned the feature on, there’s nothing else you need to do! Facebook will automatically assign badges to users who qualify for them. While Facebook hasn’t revealed exactly how it determines who receives badges, we do know that liking, reacting, sharing and commenting are all factors that qualify followers.

How to Leverage Top Fans to Improve Audience Engagement

Although you may not be able to manually give users badges, you can encourage your followers to take actions to earn them. The good news is that the steps you take to keep your followers engaged will also encourage them to earn badges.

Keep Top Fans Engaged With Incentives

While a badge is a fun incentive on its own, you can ramp engagement up a bit by offering additional rewards to users who earn the badge each week. You might consider adding top fans to a private group just for brand ambassadors, giving away freebies or offering a chance to contribute ideas for your next product.

Create Targeted Ads for Top Fans

Facebook ads are a great way to maintain awareness of your brand. Top fan targeting is an advanced tactic that can help you gain better return on investment for your ad spend. When creating a new ad campaign, simply make a new custom audience of top fans . This way, you can promote special offers to your top fans without the ad being visible to the rest of your followers.

Retarget Top Fans With Mid-Funnel Content

Just as you might create custom ads for your top fans, you might also use retargeting tools to engage this audience with high-value content. It’s safe to say that your top fans already know a lot about your brand. Mid-funnel content should offer them a deeper dive into a specific topic that encourages them to learn more and become a qualified lead. For example, you might send this audience an eBook or white paper that delves into a specific challenge they’re facing and describes how you can help.

Encourage Page Followers to Get Top Fan Status

Remember, top fan statuses reset regularly, so you should encourage your followers to remain active on your page. Use polls, videos, surveys and other high-engagement assets to energize your audience. Gamification elements work very well in a competitive environment – just make sure to keep things lighthearted.

Should Facebook Top Fans Be Included in Your Marketing Strategy?

The top fan badge is an excellent way to keep your audience engaged.

A top fan is someone who can become a brand ambassador and evangelist, increasing the reach of your messaging. Nearly 40% of surveyed customers report making a purchase after seeing an influencer use a product or service. Leveraged properly, top fans can serve as a catalyst, helping you to gain the trust of new followers quickly.

If you haven’t turned on top fan badges yet, head over to your Facebook page and do it now! It only takes a second and you can start seeing results almost immediately. Then, you can build better Facebook ad campaigns that target this valuable audience segment. Social media marketing should be fun, and gamification elements like badges are a practical and easy way to ramp up the excitement.

Editor’s Note: Updated May 2022.