I perfectly understand the need for businesses to see a list of their followers. It’s only by getting to know your customers will you be able to improve your service and boost your business, and you won’t get to know them if you don’t know who they are.
With Facebook, there seems to be a disconnect in trying to attain this. The social networking site is rich with pieces of personal information about every single user which they can supposedly use anytime for whatever reason. However, Facebook needs to conform to data privacy policies too, although there are some loopholes and ambiguity in some of these policies that are being tackled in an ongoing legal battle.
Still, these data handling policies require Facebook to obfuscate and anonymize the personal data of all its users, and even non-users who happen to visit Facebook. The results for Facebook business pages are:
- You can use the social media’s analytics tool to see trends in your data, but you can’t link any of the behavior to a specific user.
- It can be challenging to get a list of followers, hence this post.
Before I dive into the details, it’s important to understand that there are three types of followers:
- Personal profile followers
- People who follow your page
- People who like your page
Read on to learn more about each of them and how to see a full list of these followers.
Personal profile followers
All Facebook personal profiles have a follow button located in between the add friend and message options. Friends follow your posts by default, and they can unfollow you anytime. You can also let other people see your public posts when they follow you even when you haven’t added each other as friends. You can’t see any of their posts on your feed though, so it’s like a one-way relationship.
The follow button is advantageous for bloggers, local reporters and journalists, and public personalities who don’t want to manage a Facebook page. First, make sure that you have enabled the follow button by doing the following:
- Click on the drop-down button at the rightmost part of the top navigation bar.
- Go to Settings.
- Click on Public Posts in the left column.
- Under the “Who can follow me” option, you can choose between Public or Friends.
If you select Friends, the follow button won’t appear since friends already follow you by default.
How to get the list of personal profile followers
You may want to see who is following you, just in case there are any stalkers. If you’re trying to build an audience, getting a list of your followers also makes sense. It’s easy to see all the followers on your personal profile, just follow these steps:
- Go to your profile by clicking on your name located at the navigation bar above the cover photo.
- In the left column where you see your bio and featured photos, click on the RSS icon labeled “followed by N people.”
You will now see an alphabetical list of all your followers who are not necessarily on your friend’s list. In my personal account, I have 69 followers, and some of them are acquaintances who sent me friend requests which I ignored. There are also around three online shops, and I suspect five accounts to be bots.
See, it’s a good idea to get a snapshot of who is following you so you’ll know what to post in public. If you don’t want any of these people to know what you’re up to, you can simply set your post’s visibility to “Friends only.”
You may also review the accounts you follow by going to the Following tab. You will see there if you have a pending friend request to the person you’re following (and you’ll know that they ignored it).
What’s even better is that you can also see the people who follow someone else’s Facebook profile since Follower lists are public information. When you visit another person’s profile, you will see the RSS icon in the same location you found yours. You can then click on the “Followed by N people” and see the list of people following that person’s Facebook profile.
This is where the tricky part is. Pages have two types of followers, and to better illustrate this point, I’ll cite Writing about Writing as an example. When you visit their Facebook page, you’ll see that it is liked by 880,374 people and followed by 892,854 people.
Notice that the numbers aren’t equal. This is important to point out because most people refer to the “N people like this page” as their followers, when in fact there’s a separate list for the “N people follow this page.” People who like your page follow you by default, but they can unfollow you. In the same way, people can follow your page but choose not to hit the like button.
It works the same way as your personal profile: Friends follow you by default but can unfollow you anytime. Unlike personal profiles, however, there’s no way to see the list of people who follow a Facebook business page you don’t manage. This data can’t be used for competitive advantage, unlike on Twitter where you can always see who follows anyone.
How to get the list of page followers
To see the list of your followers, do these steps:
- Login as an account with the page admin role.
- Go to the page.
- Click on the Settings option, at the top right corner of the window.
- On the left column, look for People and Other Pages.
By default, you will see the list of people who liked your page, arranged in chronological order. You can also change the view by clicking on the button alongside the search bar. You can see:
- People Who Like This Page: This list contains people who liked your page, and by default, they also follow your page. Again, they have the option to unfollow and you have no way of knowing if they did so.
- People Who Follow This Page: These are the people who are following your posts but didn’t like your page. You can send them an invite to increase the number of your Facebook page likes.
- Pages That Like This Page: You will see here other pages that have liked your page, which is a great opportunity for collaboration.
- Banned People and Pages: If you banned someone, they will appear here. You can also add to this list, or remove an account.
You see how easy it is to see who is following your page, and you can use this information to build a relationship and customize your service to them. The only downside though is there’s no export button so you really need to scroll all the way down and copy the data to an Excel file. If you have thousands of followers, that would take a long time, but at least you have useful data.