What’s the Value of a Facebook Fan?

I’ve been asked this so many times. Honestly, I don’t have a finite answer. You can artificially create an equation and force out a number, but I think a more important question is “What do you want your Facebook fans to do for you?” IE what is your goal in having this fan page. And then back out a means of measuring that metric.

Ultimately, any company using Facebook should have the goal of increasing engagement with their fans. In fact, if that’s not a goal for you…why are you even on Facebook?! So, you will have to measure the quantity of conversations, the quality of those conversations, and the results of the conversations (IE do you change a naysayer into a advocate? Do you fix a technical issue?). Beyond this high level goal, however, you should have business-objective specific sub-goals.

For example: Is your goal increasing sales? Well, then are you sharing buy now links with your fans? Use something like Channel Intelligence tracking links so you have data on whether purchases were made based on the links you shared. If you’re an ingredient company (like my employer) then this type of data might be harder to come by. So you can get creative, and you will likely need to make some assumptions. IE, you won’t have buy now links, but you can share links to your partners’ product sites. You can post pictures of products you power, and measure the sentiment of your fans towards that product. You can clarify questions they have about the product. You can educate them on the value your “ingredient” brings to the end product, versus competitors.

The thing to keep in mind is this is (and will likely never be) an exact science.  But, if you choose a methodology and stick to it, you’ll be able to make relative comparisons.  And, when you’re ready to progress to the next level of reporting, you can apply the same methodology to your competitors’ activities and see how they stack up against your efforts.

I’d love to hear what y’all have to say on the topic. Do you have a measurement methodology for the value of FB fans? Share your thoughts in the comment thread.

Additional reading on this topic:

* http://gigaom.com/2010/06/11/how-much-is-a-facebook-fan-really-worth/

* http://adage.com/digitalnext/post?article_id=144437

* http://www.searchenginejournal.com/what%E2%80%99s-a-facebook-fan-worth/20133/

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