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The true value of a Facebook ‘like’ is a constant topic of debate in the social media world. Other than more sets of eyes on your marketing messages, what value does a ‘like’ really hold?

It’s a question every business wishes it could answer, but there is no simple formula.

A recent post on the Econsultancy blog highlighted some brands which have started to work out the monetary value of their Facebook fans.

  • Bulmers Cider calculates that its Facebook fans are worth £3.82 more a week, or £198.64 per year than non-fans. You can find out how they worked that out here.
  • Evenbrite worked out that a Facebook share is worth £2.25, compared to £1.80 on Twitter. More about that here.

The most recent report of a high-profile brand doing this is Play.com. The company closely studied the shopping behaviour of its Facebook fans, and found that customers who had engaged with at least one of their Facebook campaigns spent 24% more than customers who hadn’t.

In addition, new customers referred through Facebook spent 30% more than the average customer in their first year using the site.

Play.com also reported a huge 80% year-on-year increase of sales via Facebook, with the social networking site now accounting for over £2 million of Play.com’s gross merchandise sales.

This increase can be attributed to Play.com’s rapidly growing Facebook fan base, which has grown from 75,000 to 350,000+ over the past year.

The Play.com Facebook team sets a great example of how to manage a Facebook page – they regularly post amusing content, engage with fans and keep the sales talk to an absolute minimum.

If you’re serious about Facebook marketing, take note from the examples above, because your fans could be worth more to you than you think.