Why Long Distance Facebook Relationships Never Work

Targeting audiences is a strategy found at the heart of any marketing campaign. Who you communicate to and the message you send are essential components to their success. We asked ourselves, are UK mobile operators' Facebook fans really in the UK?

Why Long Distance Facebook Relationships Never Work

The average marketer wouldn’t dream of running a campaign to increase the sale of Barbie dolls in the US in an Italian car magazine – so why is it so different when it comes to what brands communicate on social media? We took a look at the top four British network providers to see exactly how relevant their messages were to their actual audience. Using Facebook’s Local Fan Counts, we checked to see where their fan bases really are.


O2 have made great inroads into social media, especially on their UK page, they boast the largest amount of fans of any provider with an enviable 732 892 fans (at the time of data extraction). Well done you guys! But we wonder how thrilled their 22 642 German fans are to hear that they can receive £200 off a Samsung Galaxy S3 or how their 9 869 fans that reside in Ireland feel about the offers they cannot take advantage of?

Vodafone UK

Lets move onto the network with the next largest amount of fans, Vodafone UK, which has 637 651 fans. As one of the largest companies in the world, when it comes to communications these global giants should have it nailed. However, a staggering 145 041 people in Egypt are excited (or not) to hear about their UK-based offers and 18 844 in India will never be able to take advantage of the opportunity to win tickets to London fashion week. Of all their fans only 62% are UK based.

Orange UK

Orange UK is a smaller network and never really competed for global dominance. So unsurprisingly, it can only count around 32 481 fans. A robust 86% of it fans are UK based. Orange UK seems to understand the importance of a social marketing strategy that targets its audience in the location their fans will find the products and offers most useful.

T-Mobile UK

T-mobile UK is present in several international markets, it also has the least amount of fans with 137 793. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Although its messages are falling on 3 554 deaf ears in the US and 1 143 unlikely subscribers to their services in Pakistan, overall 83% of their fans are UK based.

So what’s with all the foreign fans? In the initial stages of social media marketing, brands relied on the total of fans worldwide as a metric. However, as analytic tools have gotten more sophisticated, it’s easy to see, just because you have the highest number of fans, doesn’t mean it’s most effective for your social media marketing campaigns.

Staff Writer

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