As I was sitting at my computer this evening, reading different articles, I came across one discussing the merits of the Facebook “like.” This caught my attention, of course, because as a social media consultant perhaps the most asked question I get is “how many Facebook ‘Likes’ can you get me?” Let me tell you straight up: I hate that question. You can even call it one of my pet peeves. But why, you ask? Isn’t getting my clients “likes” and “followers” part of my job as the social media expert? And again, the simple answer to that is a resounding NO!
Let me explain myself. I know that getting the word out about our clients’ businesses and products is key and that Facebook is an effective medium to get the word out. However, the real question that any client should be asking is whether a “like” is really a true fan?
Most companies these days are using all kinds of different strategies to get “likes.” They’ll use LinkedIn connections, other Facebook friends, coupons, Fan gates, promo codes and many other tactics. C’mon, admit it. You’ve gone on LinkedIn and joined a group where members all list their Facebook pages and you all go around liking each other’s pages – I’m not too proud to admit that I have done this as well. But once we get that “like,” does that fan really turn into a customer? And can we, as social media consultants, really derive a true ROI from these so-called fans?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe that for some businesses, once you like a Fan page it can help increase exposure, and if the company has a good Facebook strategy, they can engage these likes with contests, promotions, questions and conversations to turn likes into customers. But just because a company has 1,000 fans, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are more successful than the business with 100 fans. And while fans are ok to measure in the short-term, as a long-term strategy, you need to dig a bit deeper.
So, as a social media consultant, when I’m asked if I can get my clients more “likes,” my answer usually goes something like this: “I can buy you 1,000 “likes” if you want but if we work together to increase your brand awareness through strong customer engagement and world of mouth then we are creating an effective social media platform that will take your business farther than those 1,000 “likes” ever could. But that’s just my opinion. What’s your?