Think Before You Like.

By Rob McNair

As you’ve probably noticed there’s been a lot of industry discussions about Facebook likes & it’s got me thinking – is every brand now obsessed with likes? The answer is probably: yes. Facebook has done it to us, and made the majority of us working within the industry hooked. Let’s be honest, one of the first metrics you do when evaluatiing your competitors is look at the no. of likes on their page. And yes as you know the ‘likes’ fiasco doesn’t stop there. So many brands ask their fans to ‘like’ a post, just see a few ‘shocking’ examples below:

I can’t sit here and say everyone’s doing it wrong because I’ve also been guilty of asking users to ‘like’ a post. But should brands be doing this? In my eyes it’s not always a brands fault, sometimes consumers need it spelling out for them with ‘call to actions.’ When users scroll down a Facebook timeline it’s mostly mindless browsing & having ‘calls to action’ will sometimes help a consumer make a decision about a post. It’s effectively the same as billboard advertisement & how they are designed in order to catch your eye, where you should focus & whether you should engage. There have been several Facebook studies proving that asking people to ‘like’ does improve engagement but ultimately is this all a brand should want? So your engagement is better than your competitors, but is this going to improve your business? Probably not.

The problem is that this prompted engagement is used so often on Facebook, and now it’s become too much, it’s now almost impossible to escape it. You’ve probably already seen it, but Condescending Facebook Page has started ‘naming & shaming’ such brands that are terribly desperate for likes.

We all know that 5,000 highly engaged fans is better than 50,000 non existent fans. What brands need to start realising is how to create valuable content. It’s the same with Facebook apps, get people to talk about them… not share. Social media is ultimately word of mouth marketing and you need to get people talking. I’m not saying don’t measure likes but don’t be afraid to measure different metrics such as referrals, comments etc. If you’re creating great content the ‘likes’ & ‘shares’ will come organically.

P.S. don’t forget to ‘like’ this blog.

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.