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Five Ways to Measure If Facebook "Likes" Work for Your Business

Wedding_just_me_reasonably_smallThis guest blog post is by Julie Bevacqua, Vice President of Global Marketing for CDC Software. As a natural networker and team motivator, she has encouraged, guided and steered her team to play a major contributing role in maintaining the company's online presence.

As the business world continues its shift from what the seller wants to what the customer demands, simple tools such as Facebook's "Like" are getting a lot of attention.

You no longer have to imagine what the customer does or does not like about your products or services. If you're lucky enough to have a Facebook following, they'll tell you!

Depending on what you sell, a large percentage of Facebook's 500 million users could be your market. According to eMarketer, the 2011 forecast for ad revenue spend on Facebook is $4 billion. But with all this money being poured into Facebook, savvy marketers are beginning to ask questions:

  • How can we measure Facebook?
  • What is the ROI on the time, effort, and money spent?
  • Do I pay for additional advertising on Facebook? If so, what should I pay?
  • What is my return on ad spend?

And the ultimate question: what is a fan "Like" really worth to my business?

The value of a fan can mean different things depending on your business. Consider Papa John's: would you connect with your favorite pizzeria on Facebook? Nearly 2 million fans seem to think it's a great idea. Papa John's started its page only after discovering that people were actually creating Papa John's fan pages!

In this instance, the value of a "Like" is tangible and hard to ignore. For some companies, the value may mean an actual sales figure; for others, the evangelical aspect of a "Like" proves invaluable. How do you know what your fan value is?

Such companies as Syncapse have assigned a value of $136.38 to each fan, while Vitrue brings it down to $3.60! In fact, Vitrue has released a free tool: Social Page Evaluator, which helps you set a value to your Facebook page. While some argue it is not necessarily the most scientific way to assess your online marketing strategies, it does provide a starting point.

As with any social media, metrics are still being worked out, and the results are often hard to compile. So step outside the box and explore these five ways to determine if Facebook "Likes" can work for your business.

1. Consider the nature and size of your business. It is important to understand that the actual advantage to a company will depend on a number of factors, including its size and ad spend, as well as the nature of the goods and services it promotes. Smaller enterprises may well focus their efforts on Facebook, while larger companies will regard Facebook as part of a bigger social-media strategy that spans the enterprise.

2. Question your transactions. More and more retail stores are using Facebook to target their clientele by offering such things as a promo code in exchange for being a fan; however, you may need to give more in order to be "Liked."

3. Reassess your evaluation methods. Having someone "Like" your page is not enough. You need to track the results to see if these "Likes" convert into paying customers, repeat customers, evangelists, etc. Use analytics to track your statistics, and base your campaigns at least in part on the results they produce.

4. Recognize the sustaining value of the social media you select. Twitter has adopted far fewer changes than Facebook, which is constantly reinventing itself via applications and advertising methods. Can your business keep up with these changes?

5. Outline your social-media strategy. All new media require an investment – time and money – before they show results. Define your goals and objectives and assign resources. The quicker your business can adapt and convert "Likes" into actual sales, the better the chance you have of becoming a Facebook success story.

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