What does ‘like’ mean to you?

By Matter

$136.38? $1.34? $0? What’s a Facebook “like” worth to you?

PR teams across the globe, as well as at home at Matter, are increasingly being called upon to help boost the number of likes on their Facebook page. Simultaneously, everyone from research firms to Main-Street businesses are trying to connect a value to that little click of a button.

One company, Eventbrite, this spring tied some figures to the debate, announcing that its Facebook likes were more profitable than its tweets. The company said an average tweet about an event drove 80 cents in ticket sales during the past six months, whereas an average Facebook Like drove $1.34. Another figure floated around last month notes that for retailers, each new fan acquired on Facebook is worth 20 additional visits to their website during a year. The figure, based on data from Hitwise and from Techlightenment primarily focuses on UK online retailers for its study. Social Media Today, however, disagrees, saying hitting the like button is similar to a dead end conversation.

The Facebook Media team weighed in on the conversation last fall. Among the data they shared, they said, “The average ‘liker’ has 2.4x the amount of friends than that of a typical Facebook user. They are also more interested in exploring content they discover on Facebook — they click on 5.3x more links to external sites than the typical Facebook user.”

A study last year of 4,000 panelists by social media measurement firm Syncapse showed an average fan is worth about $136.38 (between purchases and engagement), although for some successful social marketers the value can be dramatically higher, and virtually zero for others. Also last year Fellow Friar Brian Morrissey reported in AdWeek that social media specialist Vitrue, which aids brands in building their customer bases on social networks, “determined that, on average, a fan base of 1 million translates into at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over a year.” Forrester Research at the time cried out that a like is worth zilch.

No matter which calculation you reply on, in the race to be popular and have people like you (a la Jan Brady), companies should consider what value their fans contribute to their business goals. What incentive have they given them on Facebook to make a purchase? How often and in what way do they interact with that fan base? No matter how we quantify a “like,” most people seem to agree that being in tune to your customers’ attitudes is an invaluable commodity.