What’s the worth of a Facebook fan?

At a time when Facebook’s user-specific advertising methods have been under some critique, how beneficial can a social media presence aimed at acquiring fans to achieve a return on investment be? As it turns out, quite beneficial.

Anyone whose audience is spending time on Facebook can benefit from having a presence on the site. An active fan page provides social proof of credibility that a regular website just can’t convey. Imagine if an individual visits your fan page, and she sees the 300,000 fans that your company has worked hard to acquire and keep. It won’t be hard to convince her that the page and the business is an authoritative location where she can get help and information.

The $136 Question 

The results of Syncapse’s “The Value of a Facebook Fan: An Empirical Review” study suggested that the average value of an individual fan is $136.38. This figure has proven to be quite accurate if a business has a back-end funnel in place designed to turn fans into customers.

In conducting their study, Syncapse evaluated multiple different variables that affect both short- and long-term sales performance. They concluded that customers who are fans of a business on Facebook are more valuable than customers who are not fans based on several important variables.

Product Spending: Across many different brands, Facebook fans were found to spend $71.84 more annually on products than non-fans.

Loyalty: Facebook fans are more likely to remain loyal to a brand over time.

Propensity to Recommend: Facebook fans tend to be more likely to recommend products to their friends, meaning an increase in the number of fans and an increase in the number of people who walk through the doors and spend money.

Brand Affinity: Syncapse found that 81 percent of fans feel connected to and have empathy for a brand compared to 39 percent of non-fans. This connection affects repeat purchases and long-term sales performance.

Making customers of your fans 

Acquiring fans means more than simply setting up a Facebook page under the product name. It may get some fans, but to obtain a large number (which will begin the cycle of added credibility to the page) and turn them into loyal customers requires more work.

Using Facebook’s different advertising features is the quickest and most effective way to get fans. The most important feature to focus on, however, is building custom tabs. These allow fans to skip the generic Facebook timeline, an obstacle that forces them to scroll through information that may not be important or enticing. It also takes them straight to the information designed to turn them into leads or customers as quickly as possible.

Design custom tabs to turn fans into leads in whichever way works best for your individual business — whether it be photos, coupons and deals, or interactions with other customers/fans — but be sure to include them in creating the page. Without custom tabs, you cannot expect to see much real revenue through conversions.

Under Armour uses custom tabs to promote campaigns that drive users to register, market company videos, and showcase job openings. Phillips Seafood promotes special offers and discounts for loyal fans. And our own Get 10,000 Fans custom tabs work to convert fans into email subscribers. These are just some of the great ways you can use custom tabs to provide real value and obtain important information for converting fans into customers.

Also focus on delivering excellent, relevant content that the audience will genuinely enjoy. Encourage them to engage and share it with their friends. Such interactions with fans will help build the affinity and loyalty that will drive repeat purchases and further recommendations to their friends and family.

A well-designed Facebook fan page built with the intent of interacting with and catering to fans can quickly turn them into long-term customers. Despite the grief it has received from many sides about its advertising methods, Facebook is still an effective place to turn potential customers into loyal customers. Spend the time building custom tabs and you’ll find that $136 per fan is an understatement.

Brian Moran is the Director of Online Sales at Get 10,000 Fans, a marketing agency and blog.