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Capturing A Fan's Valuation - But Minus the Crucial Engagement Factor

How much is Starbucks' 6.5 million fan base is worth? $23.4 million in media annually, or broken down to a per capita number, $3.60. So says Vitrue, which which has developed a way to value Facebook fans. According to its research, a Facebook Page with one million fans is worth a minimum of $3.6 million in earned media annually, it said in its blog.

Vitrue came to this conclusion by determining that the ratio of impressions to wall posts was approximately 1:1 (0.96:1 to be exact). Hence, a one million Fan Facebook Page can average one million impressions with a single post to the wall and a two post per day strategy would garner approximately 60 million impressions per month. To place a CPM value to that, Vitrue factored a conservative $5 CPM.

But is it that easy? Even Vitrue is quick to say it is not, pointing to wall posts with such social engagement as clicks, comments, likes, plays and shares. "Brands engaging their Fans stand to earn much more value, potentially doubling or tripling these estimates," it said.

Starbucks Responds

Indeed engagement - not a numbers' approach - seems to be the metric brands value the most and find the most elusive. Including Starbucks.  "We don't view social media as a marketing play," a company spokeswoman said, after the study was first published on AdAge (via MediaBistro).

"But rather as a customer engagement channel where we can have real connections with our customers, engage them in the brand and answer their questions… Our engagement allows us to understand their needs, stay top-of-mind in an increasingly competitive retail environment and share interesting news about the company with a captive audience."

Getting Them to Do Your Bidding

A separate study by HubSpot also suggests that a key metric or goal with social media marketing it isn’t the number of fans or followers - but rather how engaged they are. Problem is, it is hard to keep an army of followers engaged. The cut off point, as determined by HubSpot, is 500, according to an article based on its State of Inbound Lead Generation - a report that covers the statistical analysis of 1,400 customers' inbound marketing activities. It found that the largest jump in leads took place once customers garnered several hundred followers.

"These more engaged individuals are those who will retweet content to their own followers, visit the company web site when enticed to do so, and/or post updates on topics related to the customer's areas of interest. Leads are more likely to come directly and indirectly through these more engaged individuals."

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