All you need to know if you want to export your Facebook Fans

According to Google, there are approximately 900 people every month looking for a way to export a list of Facebook Fans. Not huge, but enough people to make me think that this is something people want to do.

Eventhough we rank pretty high for that request (here), I realize that there is misunderstanding regarding what you can (or can’t) do when it comes to gathering the data of your Facebook fans. This topic has been discussed on Quora and elsewhere but the responses are kind of outdated. It is time that someone get the record straight!


1 – There is no magic “trick” to download your fanbase

There used to be a way to programatically download your fanbase for free (see here), but the party is over, Facebook shut this loophole down a while ago. So now, unless you go copy and paste for the next decade, you won’t be able to get all your 10,000 fans in a well organized Excel spreadsheet. Any way, I guess you have better things to do with your life.


2 – Some (paying) third party software can help you, but they have limitations

Agorapulse is one of them! Yes, these third party social media management tools will help you in your quest for the Facebook (data) Graal. But what a third party tool can get is limited by the Facebook API. And guess what, the Facebook API does not publicly expose your fans’ data. And even you, the page admin, are considered the public when it comes to individual data.

Remember, your fans are not yours. They are just lent to you, under certain conditions. And Facebook sets the conditions.

That means that you’ll never have access to all your fans’ data. A third party tool (including Agorapulse) will only get the data of the fans that have interacted with your page at least once.

As a result, a fan that has never posted on your page or liked/commented one of your posts will not be “visible” to your software’s eyes.

I know, that’s a shame, Facebook is pain, Mark does not care about us, poor marketers with a craving for data, but that’s the way it is, so we’d better get used to it…


3 – what good does it do anyway?

Well now that you know that you need a third party tool to get those fans into your Excel spreadsheet AND that you’ll only get a small portion of them, the next question should be, “Should I really care?”

Well, that’s an important question!

And my answer is very straightforward: unless you have gathered qualified data about these fans, you shouldn’t care less. Their data isn’t worth a peanut (yes, just one peanut, not even two.

Why? because all you’ll have is a first name, last name, a gender and a profile picture (sometimes a cat, a kid or a muscle car!). What good will that do to your bottom line? None.

With Agorapulse, we have focused our efforts on gathering qualified data (email, age, client status, etc.) that can give real value to your fans. It’s not rocket science (or maybe it is), we have just leveraged the applications (sweepstakes, contests, coupons and so on) to gather these valuable data so, the next time you’ll want to download your fanbase into Excel using our Social Media Management Software, you’ll get something of value. A good starting point.

But otherwise, there is no point in downloading your fan base.

You got the point? If you want to download your fanbase, use Agorapulse!

If you want to download your Facebook fans and disagree (or agree) with me, let me know, I’d love to change my mind if I’ve been a jerk here. I am, sometimes.

Emeric Ernoult

Emeric is the co-founder of AgoraPulse, a Facebook Marketing Software company launched in 2011 and based in Paris and San Francisco. AgoraPulse is currently being used by more than 17,000 Facebook Pages across 137 countries.
Since 2000, he has been one of the European pioneers in the field of Social Media Marketing. He has advised French and international brands such as Virgin Megastores, FIA and Microsoft.
He is a regular speaker at International conferences such as the AllFAcebook Marketing Conference, Facebook Success Summit and BOLO. He is also an accredited instructor at the Online Marketing Institute.