With all the buzz about social media marketing these days (how to do it, when to do it, where to do it), there is little concrete info to be found about what exactly you’re getting for all that work. I think because of this there is still reluctance from a number of business owners and marketers to fully embrace social media as a serious part of their efforts. Those people are making a mistake, and finally there are some numbers to prove it.
Enter Syncapse and their illuminating study, The Value of a Facebook Fan 2013: Revisiting Consumer Brand Currency in Social Media. It’s a follow up to their seminal 2010 study, and it’s an effort to put an actual dollar value on a Fan. What did they find?
“Average Fan value in consumer brands category increased 28% to $174.17 in 2013 versus 2010, while Fan counts have doubled or even tripled in 2013.”
Let that sink in for a minute. That’s a pretty big figure for someone liking your page on Facebook. And, not only is the value of each Fan going up, but the parallel increase in the number of said Fans compounds the rising valuation.
Some skeptics might still scoff; the real value is in a customer, not a Fan, could be their thinking. Unfortunately for them, Syncapse found that among users (consumers), those that are also Fans have a greater affinity for a brand than those who are not fans. In essence, if you’re able to convert a regular old user into a Fan, you’ve now got a super user. A super consumer. Not bad, right?
The real challenge, then, is turning those users into fans, not necessarily trying to chase prospects. In fact, it turns out that Fans are more likely to be a brand user before they became a Fan. Marketers should therefore be thinking constantly about leveraging their existing touch-points with users to get that elusive Like because not only do Fans spend more than non-Fans, they also advocate more. Not only is that free marketing for your company, but in this age of social, that advocacy will be more effective than anything you could do on your own because the Fan is telling friends. Friends trust other friends more than they do you! Also, if you can build a strong Fan base on the backs of users, you’ll increase the likelihood of converting non-users into Fans.
It also turns out that it’s more common for people to become a Fan because of brand personality and expression rather than due to transactional offers such as coupons or giveaways. This emotional (instead of financial) reasoning is exciting because it means you can really leverage your story, your product, your philosophy: the things that make you you. Moreover, it’s another opportunity to maximize the value of your Fans. Because they Like your page because they like you, it means they want to develop a relationship, so it’s valuable to reciprocate; invite them to co-create, get involved, make them a part of the social process rather than just a consumer of it.
The real thing that strikes me here is that all of these findings support the idea of humanizing your business. You don’t get Fans by giving away a coupon, you get them on personality. Fans don’t just buy your products, they advocate for them. They don’t visit your page to view, they come to chat and say hello. It’s the age old desire to build meaningful relationships, to make a connection, to share the journey: to be human.
So there you have it. The next time someone tells you that social media is child’s play and a waste of resources, you can confidently retort: it pays to socialize.
P.S. The study delves much deeper into all of these issues and more. I highly encourage giving it a look.