In the 21st century, the means of achieving status have changed and expanded dramatically - particularly as a result of the enormous growth of social media and its influence on the day-to-day lives of people. Neither success or status are characterised by class, education, profession or social circle reputation alone, allowing everyone with access to the internet to achieve success in a variety of alternative ways.
The introduction of Facebook’s Top Fan badges means that if a follower of a page (that has more than 10,000 followers) interacts through likes, comments, and sharing frequently enough, they will be awarded a Top Fan badge, which sits proudly alongside the user’s name.
The dedicated Top Fan followers are listed in the community tab of the page, so it is easily available to page’s owner and can be used to further acknowledge these followers by monitoring the list and possibly offering other rewards such as gifts, messages, and interaction from the moderator or public figure.
In an age unlimited by the parameters of location, you can communicate with people you otherwise would not be able to. Fame has changed and so has idolisation. Imagine being able to say that Elvis Presley replied to your tweet or interacted with you on Facebook back in the 1960s? Never before have we had such access to celebrities, big businesses, or people from different places around the world. If you continuously comment on the public Facebook page of your favourite celebrity, they (or more likely, a representative) might reach out to you, which can feel like an enormous achievement for devoted followers.
It only makes sense that the next stage in ‘follower culture’ should be more fan-centric, encouraging further engagement on platforms like Facebook. For example, by giving people the incentive of a Top Fan badge and the acknowledgement that could potentially come with it, it will likely increase the amount certain people use Facebook and could also be used as a sales tool for businesses and entrepreneurs on the platform. For instance, if you achieve a Top Fan badge on a page for a retail company, you may then receive a direct message thanking you for your engagement and offering you a discount code for their online site1.
With promoted posts, polls, hashtags, page insights and more, Facebook offers an array of features ideal for business. In terms of engagement, promoted posts ensure that your posts reach more News Feeds and are seen by as many people as possible, while features like polls attract interaction from followers, providing insight into the thoughts of audiences as well as boosting interest for your page. For example, if a follower feels like their opinions are valued, they are more inclined to engage and return to the page to see the results of a poll2. This has a similar impact as the Top Fan badges, but with a more competitive edge, the Top Fan badges offer the added bonus of a visual reward.
It is easy to forget that Facebook is a corporation and is continuously working to add features not only to improve the experience of its users but also to meet its own targets. A site worth over $100 billion does not produce that much money without having effective advertising, sales, and marketing practices in place.
If a social networking site can attract businesses to start pages or accounts by establishing that they have the tools like the Top Fan badges to attract an audience and customers, these businesses will want to advertise on the platform and then the adverts will make Facebook a profit. Social media can act as an incredible business model that offers everyone involved some form of remuneration, whether in the form of free communication and entertainment for users, advertising and sales for businesses and influencers, and mass profit for Facebook and other platforms.