I was reading a post about social advocacy platforms yesterday. It's a pretty dry read, except for this nugget:
“We’ve studied and asked customers why they recommend products,” Fuggetta said. “The number one answer is they had a great experience and want to help others — over 50 percent of those surveyed said that. They want their friends to enjoy it.”
Fuggetta said only one percent of the respondents said they shared because they would get a coupon or a deal. “In our definition, they are not advocates,” he explained.
Let's add to this another stat, from eMarketer:
“A December 2009 MarketingSherpa survey indicated that learning about specials and sales was the top motivation of those who friended or followed a brand online, supporting the results of earlier surveys.”
Here's how that math works out: the majority of your fans are following you to learn about specials which won't cause them to recommend your product. Meaning that the majority of your Facebook fans could be useless to your brand.
Building real relationships with your customers (via Facebook or otherwise) is always going to give a far greater return on investment than attracting them through deals. True fans make an impact, paid “fans” don't.