Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fan Club Wars

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Businesses have been using various incentives to get people to patronize their establishments. Banks used to offer toasters to entice customers to open accounts. Southern California gas stations would have "gas wars," which were a combination of lower prices and free gifts to people who filled up there. Stores use lower prices and restaurants offer free meals to attract customers. Now Facebook fan clubs of skiers are getting into the act of trying to entice fans to like their pages. Our intrepid reporters have found three people who have started their own fan pages on Facebook who were willing to be interviewed about how they are attracting ski fans to those pages. They asked that we change their names to protect their identities. "Larry," "Moe," and "Curly" have each started their own Lindsey Vonn fan page on Facebook. Let's hear what they have to say.
BB: There is already a Lindsey Vonn fan page on Facebook with a very large following. Why do we need three more?
Larry: Lindsey can never have too many fan pages. She is very successful. One measure of success for an athlete is the number of fan pages that she has on Facebook.
Moe: Another measure of success is the number of likes that the different fan sites get.
BB: What makes your fan pages different than the main one?
Curly: I have friends who are photographers at World Cup races who supply me with photos that nobody else has.
BB: You sound a lot like the Blickbild. We print the stories that nobody else dares to.
Curly: I never saw myself that way before. My photographer friends are very intrepid, but of course not as intrepid as your reporters or researchers.
BB: Of course not. Larry and Moe, what makes your pages unique?
Larry: One of my friends is a friend of Lindsey's sister Karen. I get a lot of exclusive quotes.
Moe: I have a friend who is part of Lindsey's physical therapy team. I get both exclusive quotes and photos.
BB: Lindsey's large fan page also has interviews, photos, and quotes. Why don't you merge your pages into the main one?
Larry: Because if Lindsey only had one fan page, that would show that she is not very popular with the fans.
BB: Even if that fan page had more likes than fan pages for any other ski racer?
Larry: That is correct. Most skiers have a fan page. But Lindsey needs more to stand out from the rest and to prove that she really is better than everyone else. Having more fan pages than the others on the World Cup is a surefire way of showing that she is the greatest.
BB: What are you doing to get fans to look at your pages and like them?
Moe: We are going to various Facebook pages and groups of Alpine skiing fans and asking them to like our new Lindsey Vonn fan pages. They would be the people most likely to like our pages.
Larry: I have also put out the word with my Facebook friends and asked them to tell their friends about my page.
BB: Do the people you are reaching out to actually have to like Lindsey, or is it sufficient for them just to like your pages?
Curly: That's a good question. Of course we want fans to like our pages. It would be even better if they were also fans of Lindsey. But we will take likes from anybody.
Moe: It's all about the number of likes. It would be okay with me if someone who didn't necessarily like Lindsey liked my page.
BB: I see. How many likes do you have so far?
Larry: I have 37, but I just started the page yesterday.
Moe: I already have 82 in just two days. That number is increasing as we speak.
Curly: I have over 100. I was also the first one to post a link on a well-known Facebook Alpine skiing group. You two are copycats. So there!
BB: What else are you doing to entice fans to like your pages?
Larry: Anyone who likes my page will receive a free autograph card of Lindsey.
Moe: People who like my page will receive an autograph card and an "I Heart Lindsey" button.
Curly: Those who like my page receive an autograph card, a button, and an official Lindsey Vonn pen.
BB: So I would get those things just for hitting the "like" button on your new fan pages?
Curly: That's correct.
BB: Do you think that you could possibly get more likes than the main Lindsey Vonn fan page?
Larry: Of course we can. People who like the main fan page don't get any cool Lindsey Vonn merchandise.
BB: Let's say that the number of likes on your pages hits a plateau. What will you do to get more fans to like your pages?
Moe: I would give away even more merchandise.
BB: Like what?
Larry: Fans like t-shirts. I can print up t-shirts with Lindsey's photo on them. They will become especially valuable when Lindsey breaks Annemarie Moser-Proell's record for wins this coming season.
Moe:  I happen to have a large supply of Ski Racer Barbie dolls, which come dressed in a replica of the speed suit that Lindsey wore in the 2010 Olympics when she won the gold medal in the downhill race. She even has a gold medal around her neck.
Curly: All of the people who like my page automatically go into a drawing to win the socks that Lindsey wore when she won her Olympic gold medal.
BB: All of those things sound very tempting. As a fan it would be very hard to choose which of your sites to like.
Larry: I can help you. If you like my site, I will also give you 50 euros to take yourself and a date out for dinner and a cow.
BB: I'm sorry, but I can't accept your offer. That would be considered taking a bribe and I would lose my journalistic integrity.
Larry: I would never try to bribe a reporter, especially one of the Blickbild's intrepid reporters. I meant I would give the money and cow to a ski fan who is not a journalist.
Moe: Oh yeah! Well I'll give fans 100 euros and 2 cows.
Curly: I'll give anyone who likes my page 200 euros and 5 cows!
BB: What if someone who likes your page lives in a city and has no place to keep cows? Where are you getting all of these cows anyway?
Moe: You have a good point about the cows. Forget the cows. Fans who like my page will be automatically put into a drawing to win one of Lindsey's speed used suits.
Curly: Who wants a stinky speed suit that probably hasn't been washed? I will give fans who like my page exclusive photos of Lindsey and Tiger doing unmentionable things with each other.
Larry: Anyone who likes my fan page will receive a Sacher Torte for his or her birthday for life. It will be a real one from the Hotel Sacher in Vienna and not a replica. In addition, those lucky fans will also receive a lifetime suppy of free ice cream from the ice cream shop on the Schwedenplatz in Vienna.
Moe: Larry, that's unfair! I was going to offer people who like my page the chance to be automatically entered in a drawing for a two-week, all expenses paid, trip to the beaches of Croatia. But the Sacher Torte and ice cream beats that  hands down.
Curly: And my next offer was going to be free tickets to all of the women's World Cup ski races, including the finals, to anyone who likes my page. But nobody can resist Sacher Torte and Schwedenplatz ice cream.
BB: Good luck to all three of you getting Lindsey's fans, and even some of her non-fans, to like your pages. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We interview anyone, even stooges.

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