Do Facebook Fans Really “Like” You?

They like you, but do they really like you?

I just returned from Podcamp Montreal, where I attended several thought-provoking sessions which I’ll write about over the next little while. One of those touched on an interesting question:

If someone “likes” your company on Facebook but hasn’t tried your product, what is that worth?

Not in terms of dollars, but in broader terms.

Are they really worth anything if they just like your ad, or promotion, or even your outreach, but haven’t tried your product or service? Is a fan of your marketing really worth anything?

On one hand, you could point to reports showing a correlation between Facebook fans and higher spending on products they “like.” The report above also indicate people are more likely to recommend those products to their friends.

The question is, though, is that connection just a correlation or is it actually causality?

  • Does liking something on Facebook cause you to spend more on a products and talk about them more?
  • Do people who would do that anyway search out the Facebook pages to like them because they’re such fans of the products?
  • Are some people just enjoying your marketing efforts?

I would suggest that while this would actually be very useful to know, there is actually value in all three of these scenarios.

If the people liking something on Facebook then recommend the product more and buy it more, then the benefits are clear, and your challenge becomes how to continuously engage them while recruiting more people.

If people like something because they already buy and recommend the product more than other people, then Facebook becomes a useful retention mechanism for your business.

If people like something because they just like the marketing, that puts them much higher up the CRM cycle, so you then have the task of moving them further along the funnel over time.

Of course, the odds are that a page’s Facebook fans comprise all three groups (and more). However, knowing that breakdown still matters – that’s where the community manager and the type of activities undertaken to drive new fan acquisition comes in.

What do you think?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.