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April 11, 2011

The Lifetime Value of a Like on Facebook

By Jordan Behan

Click. That was easy.

I just “Liked” your Facebook Page, and we are now connected, forever. Or at least until I decide to terminate the relationship. But I’m yours now, and you have an opportunity to benefit from our union:

  • Your Facebook Page’s activity will be visible in my news feed, just like one my friends
  • My activity on your Page may be displayed to my friends as Sponsored Content Ads
  • You have the ability (and permission!) to message me at any time

I have, in no small way, become a valuable asset to you. But just how much value can we attribute to this decidedly low-friction relationship? How can you ensure that you continue to strengthen our bond, and turn me from a mere Facebook Fan into a loyal customer, even an evangelist?

Industry analysts will try to place a dollar figure on these faithful, extrapolating the impressions from activity in one’s news feed, and the value of earned media that results, and then multiplying that by the...Look, we don’t need to get into any complex algebra to prove this point. We are talking about human relationships, so let’s not stamp a dollar-figure on those real people. For now, let’s just remember that not all fans and evangelists are created equal, but they all have value. Okay, fine. In 2010, Adweek ran a story that gave a "Like" a value of $3.60, FWIW.

It is no accident that I have compared the Facebook Fan-to-Brand relationship with that of a good old fashioned friendship. As a marketer, you have to treat it like exactly that - a friendship. Friends are people that we trust, and we want to hear from them on a regular basis (some more regularly than others). We are fond of our friends, and we are prepared to help them when they need it. But we also have expectations of our friends. We want them there when we need them; there has to be a certain amount of give-and-take. If your “friends” are just asking for things of you all the time, you bore of them very quickly. For example, you will help your best friend move once, even twice, but if they move several times a year, you’ll start screening their calls and tell them to find a new best friend, before long.

Using friendship as a guiding principle for Facebook communications is the best way to stay in touch with your FB community without overstaying your welcome. And yes, number cruncher, it is also the best way to get the most lifetime value from your network and the individuals within. That is a very important lesson to remember when you are engaging in online marketing these days. You are not simply counting cattle, or racking up page views that add up to impressive statistics. You are building a community: a living, breathing network of people, all of them capable of engaging with you in a number of ways almost instantly. They are not to be feared, but rather embraced. Embraced, and not forgotten about.

At Strutta, we build tools to assists agencies, brands and marketers to increase the size of their networks with promotions of all kinds, on and off Facebook. When those promotions have closed, the network of people remains, so be sure to stay in touch with those new acquaintances. If you have done your job properly, you would have obtained appropriate permission (a Facebook ‘Like’, a newsletter subscription) to contact them in the future. Stay relevant in your communications to your network, and share valuable info at least as often as you ask for something in return. To enjoy continual growth and fan retention, have a consistent schedule of promotions to keep your community active and your network ever-growing.

If you are honest and helpful with people in your network, they will reward you for your decency and candor, and remain with you. Do this properly, and you will almost certainly “win.” When you do, remember how you got there, and who it was that helped you along the way. Remember this always, and thank the devoted at every turn for their continued loyalty.

It is only then that you will discover the true power of social media. Do you have any "do's or don'ts" to share on Facebook marketing or community building. Let's hear from you in the comments.

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