“Has Facebook fandom really amounted to little more than a lifestyle badge? Are there any brands you follow that truly provide you with valuable content or community?”
I don’t think we can define what a Facebook fan is as one distinct element. Some people join fan pages for people or things they really are fans of. Sometimes they want to look cool or amusing on their news feed (“ed lee is a fan of sleep/food/having a cool dream etc”). Sometimes they want special deals on premium (or everyday) brands. Sometimes they do want to use their endorsement as a social badge or as a way of initiating a conversation with their network. But what I think it comes down to, what social media comes down to, is the need to connect with other people around shared ideas and ideals.
As marketers, we’re only to start to scratch the surface of how to use the Internet to connect with our stakeholders. We’ve worked out how to build a better mousetrap to engage our constituents and all the above the line benefits of this engagement but we still need to find a way to correlate online relationships with real life sales: either online or, more importantly, offline.