What’s the value of a ‘friend’ on Facebook?

“If I tell my Facebook friends about your product, it’s not because I like your product.

It’s because I like my friends.”

There’s a lot of research which purports to work out the ‘value’ of Facebook friends to brands. It’s virtually all rubbish because the value of a ‘fan’ or a ‘friend’ also depends on the relationship between those friends, degrees of influence and nuance which no algorithm currently picks up.

Yes – someone who ‘likes’ a brand on Facebook is probably more likely to talk positively about it, and even spend more money on that brand (Brian Solis quoted an average of $253 spent on Starbucks by Facebook fans) but researchers who talk generically about the value of a Facebook fan being $4 or $400 don’t really have a clue.

The value is one of a long-term relationship, which is just too complicated to be boiled down to a numeric figure.

(p.s. I’m a fan of Starbucks on Facebook because I’m intrigued as to how they use the channel. But will cross the road to avoid their coffee compared to a Cafe Nero)