Business Brains

What is the value of a Facebook fan?

Posting in Technology

Even if the followers of your company's Facebook page aren't all that active, they are much more likely to purchase or recommend your products and services.

More and more businesses are knocking themselves out to establish and nurture Facebook pages for their company, where they can do things like promote the brand and improve customer engagement. How much do those "fans" matter?

A new report from Forrester Research, "The Facebook Factor," suggests that these individuals are much more likely to be brand advocates than your average customer.

Here are three specific ways in which this is likely to be true:

  1. Fans are more likely to purchase, consider or recommend the brand they have "friended."
  2. The odds of a fan actually making a purchase are much higher than for an average customer.
  3. Fans are much more likely to talk about a given brand to their friends and family.

All these data points were gathered as part of Forrester's North American Technographics Online Benchmark Recontact Omnibus Survey, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011. Forrester correlated those statistics with its study of Facebook ban activity on four major brands: Best Buy, BlackBerry, Walmart and Coca-Cola.

To illustrate the trends above, Forrester reports that Facebook fans for Best Buy are literally twice as likely to buy from or recommend the retailer. In fact, the average Facebook fan spent $368 at Best Buy in the 12 months prior to the survey, compared with $150 by a non-fan. Even though Coca-Cola has a pretty darn high brand recognition, almost all of its Facebook fans (95 percent) are likely to buy or recommend it, compared with 71 percent of online Americans.

I explored this issue in February with a specific focus on small businesses and there is one other trend that I believe bears repeating for those of you who thrive on feedback: most fans won't engage all that much with your company.

In fact, there a study from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute found that only 1 percent of the fans for an average Facebook business page are active. Of course, if you have 7 million or so "fans," that is still a lot of people influencing your brand.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure