What's the tangible, money-in-the-bank benefit of a Facebook follower? Social marketing mavens have pondered the question for years and we're still not any closer to a hard answer. Facebook last month swept fake "Likes" from its pages
, to the chagrin of spammers. But do efforts at gaming the social network even pay off? If you're using Facebook for legitimate marketing, what's the ROI of having virtual fans?
Depending on who you ask and the metrics you use, a Facebook follower could be worth nothing at all
, as little as $3.60
, as much as $22.93
, exactly $136.38 more than a non-follower
, or a whopping $214.81 for a nonprofit organization
That's a lot of numbers—and a gaping variation in the value of a "Like." Where does the truth lie?
, an e-shopping cart provider and the self-proclaimed "second largest store-building application on Facebook," explored the data from the 40,000-plus Facebook stores that run on its software to try and determine the answer. The results Ecwid provided me are far from definitive, but they sure are interesting.