The relationship between a consumer and the “Like” button on a brand’s Facebook page is looking a bit like middle school to me. The Brand is the Geek and the Consumer is the Cool Kid. The Cool Kid “likes” many people and has a ton of encounters every day at their locker or in the hallways. The Brand is the Geek and a “like” means more to them than it may mean to the Cool Kid. “They like me! They really like me!” While the Cool Kid just shrugs and moves on down the hall.
Brands want users who Like them to buy their products or services, to be an advocate for the brand to their friends (or at least Facebook friends ‘cause who are we kidding, these people aren’t our friends, we haven’t seen most of them in years) and increase their business. And while there is some data that a Like from a friend may slightly increase the odds that you will also buy the product there is also some evidence that a Like will result in, well, not much.
So does this mean that Likes are meaningless? Hardly. They just need to be handled realistically. Getting the Like is just a start. Knowing why you’re getting the Like should be first in your mind.
Interestingly this survey asked Facebook users why they Like a page and the majority answered “to be eligible for exclusive offers”. When marketers were asked why they thought they were getting the Likes they said “brand loyalty”. Those poor deluded marketers. Brands need to think less that Likes are a sign of loyalty and the end goal of social media interaction. Facebook is still a place to interact with friends, co-workers or others to share experiences and make juvenile comments about their friends typos. And although they will Like brands from time to time this is not their primary interest. It’s up to the brands to initiate favorable engagement to turn a Like into any kind of loyalty.
Stay tuned for more info on how to engage your Likers once you’ve gotten them to click.