Evaluating social media: The value of a Facebook fan

Steve Smith
Starcom MediaVest Group

Understanding how people experience brands on Facebook and then go on to recommend a brand is critical in developing a social strategy.

With around 175 million people logging onto Facebook every day, according to Facebook, the social network offers brand owners significant opportunities to attract, engage and interact with people in real time, through posts, videos, competitions, games and other content, depending on what they want to achieve.

However, a question which marketers and advertisers have been grappling with is, how can the value of a brand's activities and the activities of people who interact with that brand and its content be measured and expressed?

One of our goals at Starcom MediaVest is to understand how people experience brands and content on Facebook. People's experiences of a brand and its content on Facebook should be important concerns of brand owners because positive experiences are likely to lead to positive brand actions. A review of literature from psychology and experiential marketing shows a consistent set of experience dimensions, all of which are important for brands to deliver upon on Facebook. They are (i) the senses, (ii) the emotions, (iii) cognition, and (iv) behaviour. Creating measures on these dimensions helps us significantly in the development and improvement of Facebook strategies and, therefore, in the design of content and interactions. They also enable us to create benchmarks for individual brands against themselves going forward, and against their competitors.