How Do You Value Your Brand's Social Connections?

In today’s digital marketing world, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest have become a powerful identity and communications grid that establishes intelligent connections between marketers and their prospects and customers.

It is crucial to understand how social connections overlap with your internal prospect and customer databases, how these segments differ, and how they can affect business outcome.

Indeed, social connections tend to be worth more. In Syncapse’s benchmark study “The Value of a Facebook Fan: An Empirical Review,” which evaluated 20 of the world’s leading brands, our team found that:

  • On average, fans spend an additional $71.84 on products for which they are fans compared to those who are not fans.
  • Fans are 28% more likely than non-fans to continue using the brand.
  • Fans are 41% more likely than non-fans to recommend a fanned product to their friends.



Knowing the value of your social connections becomes the foundation for understanding and optimizing direct social marketing investments as well as larger integrated marketing strategies. It also is key for better understanding the convergence of paid, earned and owned media. These data are critical for marketing planning, as well as for guiding your organization’s ongoing digital marketing transformation.

How should marketers value their social connections?

After first segmenting your social connections, it is key to measure them according to core marketing performance values. Working with several of the world’s largest brands, we identified five critical values:

  • Product Spending: The rationale of increasing product-spending behaviors.
  • Customer Loyalty: The means of influencing and promoting loyalty among social media advocates.  
  • Fan Advocacy: The propensity for word-of-mouth recommendations that lead to sales.
  • Brand Affinity: The propensity of fans for greater brand recall and better perception.
  • Media Value: The value of your social connections in driving media reach and efficiency.

By carefully scrutinizing your social connections according to these criteria, you can form an aggregate understanding of their value. The simplicity and specificity of these criteria provide pragmatic color and nuances that become applicable to your entire marketing mix -- not just your social investments. They also provide a great way to surface discernable insights among the brands in your portfolio, different markets, and competitors.

Once benchmarked, brands must measure these values over time because of the fluid nature of social networks and connections. It also is important to track over time and to experiment with test and control groups, in order to better understand correlation and causation of social connections and business outcome.

This is the foundation of true “social marketing performance management.” While we’re still early in the business world’s transformation to social and digital marketing, the pressure is increasing to demonstrate impact and forecast outcome. This all starts with understanding the value of your social connections.

How are you understanding and acting on the value of your social connections?

2 comments about "How Do You Value Your Brand's Social Connections?".
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  1. Walter Sabo from SABO media, September 11, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.

    This is online word of mouth. The most effective sales person is one friend telling another friend to try it/buy it. Now they are doing it in your lap.

  2. Rob Leathern from Optimal, Inc., September 11, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.

    Good post Max. We're seeing the biggest value right now in companies bringing their actual customers into the social fold, and then creating compelling product-related ways for them to share and engage with their friends and family. I think the mantra of "word of mouth at scale" is very appropriate here - so leveraging Facebook's Open Graph to create more contextual actions is certainly going to have a lot of potential - here's a case study/example of that we participated in with Extole ( It's definitely no longer about just "likes" but about building real business value on top of whatever those social actions are.

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