The Power of “Like”: How Brands Reach (and Influence) Fans through Social-Media Marketing

Andrew Lipsman, Graham Mudd and Mike Rich


Sean Bruich


Management slant

  • Social media channels, most notably Facebook, represent a significant and growing opportunity to reach brand fans—and their friends—with branded content that may take the form of both paid and earned media impressions.
  • Despite many brands' current focus on simply counting fans, this research demonstrates how attracting fans represents only the initial springboard to reaching fans and friends of fans with paid and earned media impressions.
  • Social media brand impressions are analogous to ad impressions and can be quantified using familiar metrics such as reach and frequency, and analyzed according to the demographics and behaviors of the audiences reached by these impressions.
  • Once brands understand who they are reaching and how often, they can begin to assess the value of their fans and friends of fans. In some cases, they can even quantify the ROI of their social media investment by evaluating behaviors of those exposed to brand impressions, such as online engagement or purchase behavior.
  • By focusing on measuring the reach of their branded content among various constituencies, brands can more effectively understand and optimize the way in which they leverage their presence on Facebook and realize significant untapped benefits by reaching friends of fans.