Dude, Can I Borrow $137?

In a 2010 study, Syncapse determined that Facebook fans are worth $137 each.

They measured this statistic by looking at product spending, loyalty, chance of recommendation, brand affinity, media value and acquisition cost.

Syncapse also found that the average Facebook Fan spent $72 more per year than non-fans on that product. To make that even more compelling, 68% of Facebook Fans are likely to recommend the products they “Like” on Facebook! (citation)

Holy shit.

That means that every day billions of dollars of social capital transactions are taking place on Facebook every time someone clicks “like”.  Insane, right?

Before you run out and start to “cash in” on this free money for your brand, read the fine print.

Yes, because your fans are monetarily loyal to you AND willing to spread your company virally to their social graph the number crunchers can apply an actual cash value to that little tiny “like” button.

But (there’s always a but), while they are human beings (predictable), and with some fancy math (not that fancy) you can’t just put a price tag on Facebook Fans, these aren’t shiny little coins you can stick in a piggy bank…. it’s not that easy.

The social capital you are spending so freely is actually a “loan”.

By asking someone to “Like” your page, you are asking them to lend you (virtually) $137 dollars. You are asking them to share your brand with their friends, family and coworkers, which will ultimately reflect on them and their identity.

Sounds great, where’s the catch?

Well first off….You have to earn it! You need to give them something that delivers an immediate value to them. It can come in the form of good, exclusive content- videos, photos, blogs. It can be coupons. It can be an exclusive product.

These are the “pick up lines” of social media.  Yep, the right pick up line can get you a social media one night stand if you play your cards right, but if you think you are going to get out of there without some consequences in the morning, you’re delusional.

Consumers don’t “give” you their social capital, they have the right to take it back (plus interest) any time they feel like it.

You might be thinking that they can always “write off” their loan to you and simply unlike your page.  Why not right? Since they’ve got an unlimited supply of social capital to lend out, why would they care if you don’t live up to the terms of their $137 loan?

That’s getting off easy.  Like the bank calling and telling you to forget about your car payment. (not gonna happen)

When you borrow $137 in social capital from consumers, and don’t meet their expectations, you run a serious risk that they’ll come calling one day looking for more than you bargained for.

Treat your fans wrong and you will surely get a rogue fan that goes bananas and starts posting all sorts of sordid troll like things on every single website that has a submit button.

Yep, the scary part is that consumers can not only demand immediate re-payment of that $137, but the negative impressions they can leave might end up costing you more than the original amount.

That’s one calculation we’d like to see the pocket protector crowd cook up.

How much does it cost a brand when someone takes a chunk of social capital out of your brand by posting negative stuff across Facebook or Twitter?  We could start with the $137, but I’ve got a feeling that a negative impression carries far more weight than a positive one.  I’ve heard numbers like 10 or 20 times more awareness.

If the risk tied to these social capital loans is $1,370 per fan, how does that impact your strategy for growing (and maintaining) your social presence?

Next time you start to drop pick up lines, don’t forget to plan on cooking breakfast in the morning, and sending flowers every once in a while.

You don’t want to find out how fast a consumer can go from fan to foe when you come up short on your loan payment.Questions about our apps? Ping our support forum: support@northsocial.zendesk.com


10 Responses to “Dude, Can I Borrow $137?”

  1. Keith Lynch 26. Jan, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Wow! Brilliant article! Thx

  2. Clayton Walter 26. Jan, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Awesome. Probably one of the most upfront, no-bullshit social media blogs that I’ve come across. Reputation management can be difficult with pissed off rogue fans etch into pixel the harsh realities of how you’ve wronged them.

    Should ad a facebook & Twitter connect button though… Just a nice option for us lazy folk who aren’t looking to drop a link :)

    Stay Gold.

  3. Taylor Brown 31. Jan, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Really helpful thanks North Social!

  4. Caleb Edwards 04. Feb, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    This article nails it! Especially when you consider the power of location-aware apps and services like Gowalla, Foursquare, FB places, etc. Or how about the dedicated apps like the Gripe App that help consumers get justice.

  5. Tim Judge 04. Feb, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Straight up and on point – I guess I should say I hate it so more people would read this! ;-)

  6. Jagjit Singh Kaler 10. Feb, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    really Gr8

  7. Rickey Sanchez 25. Feb, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    That is a great article and I love how you put it in the context of a relationship. After all isn’t that what we do everyday with people…engage in relationship. Loved it. Thanks for sharing!


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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Håkan Söderbom and John Alchin, North Social. North Social said: Before cashing in on the social capital consumers can "lend" your brand on Facebook, be sure to read the fine print. http://fb.me/B8KBQsBv [...]

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