Social intelligence company Syncapse set out to answer why people become Facebook fans in its latest study and what the value of a fan is to a brand. The research found 78 percent of a brand’s Facebook fans have already engaged with the brand's product or services.
"Since being a brand user is usually a prerequisite to becoming a Fan in consumer goods categories, marketers should prioritize their Fan acquisition investments on converting existing customers," Syncapse said in its report. "Not only is acquisition cost and conversion friction lower, but the investment in a higher quality Fan base will reap rewards down the line, and this is true for both lower-cost and higher-cost consumer brands."
But there are other motivators for people becoming fans of a brand on Facebook, including wanting coupons or discounts or sharing personal experiences and interests with others.
But Syncapse warns that acquiring fans through discount offers often lead to a lower value overall for the brand.
"Many brands, particularly retailers and lower-cost brands with high purchase frequencies, often resort to rewards and direct-response incentives for driving Fan membership. However, these tactics are often blindly targeted to brand-promiscuous deal hunters, resulting in a lower-quality, fickle Fan membership (and waste of scarce marketing dollars)."
So just how much is the value of a Facebook fan?
Syncapse took into account several factors in its study including spending, loyalty, propensity to recommend, earned media value, acquisition cost and brand affinity when answering this question. The total value of a fan based on these factors is estimated to be $174 – a 28 percent increase since 2010.
But the true value in a fan, Syncapse argued, is measured by the motivation behind becoming a fan in the first place. While discounts and contests may drive a brand’s fan base up quickly, many of those Fans aren't likely to have staying power.
"After understanding the composition of social membership, it becomes critical for marketers to understand the reasons consumers become Fans of brands in the first place," Syncapse said. "Marketers must compare actual reasons for becoming a Fan, and the hard tactics (and often expensive investments) they often deploy to acquire Fans – sometimes they match up, sometimes they don't. There may be more effective and efficient strategies to acquire more of the right types of Fans."
You can access the full Syncapse study here.