According to a report conducted by non-solar marketing firm Syncapse, the average value of a Facebook Fan (“Like”) in 2013 was $174. Based on their methodology, the value is probably much higher for residential solar companies, but how much higher? Let's see if we can figure out an estimate.
Syncapse didn’t reveal its exact methodology for valuing a Fan, but it did show what factors it considered in the valuation, and most of these can be applied to residential solar marketing. Take a look:
Considering that solar purchases are made once every 20 to 25 years, brand loyalty may not be such a huge value factor for solar, but then consider the Fan’s propensity to recommend, (referrals), which is one of the biggest drivers of residential solar sales. Think about how often your customer/Facebook Fan could refer you over 20 years. It could be several times a year with the right strategies, so that's extremely valuable marketing potential.
Along with that, media value (brand recognition), Fan acquisition costs, and brand affinity (brand equity) are hugely valuable for attracting customers and eventually converting them to sales. When you think of brand afinity, think of how people "believe" in Apple products. Imagine if your customers could have the same type of feeling for your solar products. Facebook social media is a conduit to that enthusiasm, so very valubale for marketing departments.
The report also showed the social media habits of Fans vs non-Fans, and the ways in which social media is important for them. Just look at how much more engaged Fans are compared to non-Fans:
Product research, sharing, and connecting with brands are all applicable to residential solar sales, so we can see how important it is to encourage our customers and prospects to sign up as Facebook Fans.
But how much is all of this Facebook Fan’s engagement worth? To get an estimated number, let's first take a look at the reported numbers for some well known non-solar brands:
Without knowing Syncapse's formula, we can’t truly extrapolate the value of a residential solar Facebook Fan. However, the report does tell us that the more expensive the purchase, the more valuable each Facebook Fan is. For example, a BMW luxury car fan is worth $1613 in marketing value, while a cup-of-Joe Starbucks Facebook Fan is worth only $177.
Pegging an average size solar purchase at $20,000 before incentives and an average BMW cost at $80,000, we could loosely estimate that a solar Facebook Fan is worth one quarter of BMW’s $1613 Fan value, or about $403.
Assuming that figure is correct, a residential solar company with 1000 Facebook Fans has $403,000 worth of marketing potential at their social media fingertips! The question is… are they using that potential?
My sense from many solar Facebook pages that I see is …no. Solar companies are not engaging with Fans with any content worth sharing or commenting on, and that’s mainly because of poor or no strategies for exciting their Fans to engage in the habits described earlier.
Bottom line, it’s time to UnThink your current Facebook tactics and strategies and to consider how you can take advantage of many thousands of dollars worth of free marketing potential into lead generation and referrals.
Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” is a solar marketing and communications consultant and the author of Solar Fred's Guide to Solar Guerrilla Marketing. Sign up for the Solar Fred Marketing Newsletter, or contact him through UnThink Solar. You can also follow @SolarFred on Twitter.
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