How Much Is Your Friendship Worth on Facebook to a Brand?

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These days, social media and brands go hand in hand as organisations look to interact with their target audience and portray positive messages to create a positive perception of the brand.

Early adaptors of the social generation tend to be the ones that have strong interaction with their audiences; the likes of Pepsi, McDonalds, Subway and Red Bull are liked, commented, and shared all over the world. Social media has grown in importance throughout the years as social signals now directly impact SERPs, giving organisations the motivation to stay relevant and active across numerous social platforms.

As organisations became more familiar with social networking sites and their audiences, the more familiar they become with the power and rewards of being social. With Facebook becoming a hotbed of personal data it is no surprise to find that ad revenues have increased dramatically in recent years, as firms try to get a bite out of the social pie.

In 2012 it was estimated that global ad revenues generated $7.2bn, and in 2014 ad revenues will increase to just under $15bn. The findings from Go-Golf might not surprise many people as the top 10 social advertisers were:

  • AT&T spending $12.9bn
  • Microsoft Windows spending $4bn
  • Just-Fab spending $3.9bn
  • Disney spending $3.7bn
  • IAC spending $3.6bn
  • State Farm $3.5bn
  • $3.3bn
  • Weight Watchers $3.2bn
  • Universal Technical Institute $2.98bn
  • NetFlix spending $2.96bn

As businesses turn to Facebook to target potential customers, recent research has shown how much a like is worth to some of the biggest and most influential brands. The research, conducted by social intelligence company Syncapse using the Pareto Principle theory, studied more than 2,000 Facebook users who had liked a brand, taking into account such factors as product spending, loyalty, propensity to recommend, media value acquisition, cost and brand affinity to determine the value of a Facebook fan.

The research found that every time a user becomes friends with or likes a business, that action is estimated to be worth $174.17 (£112.12) to the brand – this is a 28% increase since 2010. The Facebook users that like a brand reportedly spend more money on businesses they follow per year than non-fans, with those brand-loyal users spending an estimated $116 (£74) more each year.

Brands will be licking their lips knowing that those fans are 18% more satisfied with their products than non-friends, and are 11% more likely to continue using the brand than non-friends. The research also suggests that marketing managers should dig deep into Facebook to interact with customers to understand what they're passionate about, to cater for their passion to enable the feeling of brand ownership.

Marketing managers should be encouraging engagement as Facebook users who like a brand are usually more active on social media and are vocal about their experiences with brands. They like to share both good and bad experiences, and they're more than happy to pass round promotions, competitions and discounts to friends and family.

The studys final recommendation was to ensure organisations invest in happy content, ensure followers feel appreciated, find interesting ways to talk about products/services and share their opinion. Once an organisation gets this right they have the ability to turn every day customers into super-customers, which produces more local brand advocates engaging and sharing brand content.

As generation-X becomes more familiar with technologies and social media, pushed by tech savvy generations Y and Z, social usage is increasing month on month, becoming embedded into society and a part of our everyday lives. The value and importance of a Facebook fan is likely to increase significantly, reassuring organisations of the importance of social media investments, commitment and strategy.