In the pre-social media era, a like simply meant that you were simply interested in something. Of course that meaning holds true today, but it also means so much more. However, when you “Like” something on Facebook, you are not just saying that you like it to yourself; you are basically saying that you like it so much, that you are willing to share it with the world.
So, what does a like mean to a business or a brand? It is easy to speculate that more likes should equal more customers, which in turn will equal more loyal customers. Businesses are investing time, money, and effort into increasing traffic and improve traction in this area. Yet, despite these extensive efforts, the worth of a social media like remains a mystery for many brands.
Blackbaud, NTEN, and Common Knowledge, in their 2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Benchmark Report, reported the average value of a like for non-profits seeking to attract donations, calculated based off total revenue received from a supporter over the 12 months following acquisition, was $214.81.
On the flip side, Forrester Research Inc. says each like is actually worth zero. Likes are more akin to "potential energy" in an object that's being held aloft. None of the energy is valorized until something engages the object, which may then fall to earth expending kinetic energy as it goes.
While there is no specific answer of how a brand should interact with social media consumers to maximize the use of time, money and resources, the market feels has only begun to scratch the surface in truly understanding why consumers like specific brands and if their display of ‘loyalty’ on social media translates to a higher lifetime value.