Facebook Likes - Just a numbers game?

The number of likes a page has doesn't tell the full story

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Facebook Likes - Just a numbers game? ...

Social Media, Video and other marketing

facebookA little white "f" sitting in a field of blue. It doesn't seem like it should be that important, yet Facebook can have an amazing impact on your brand's perceived value.  

But is a "like" of your Facebook Fan Page a goal unto itself?

Apparently, some people...even agencies...think so.  I do not, however, share that opinion.

I was recently 'justified' when I found a Facebook Fan Page for an agency that puports to be experts in social media.  This Fan Page was strictly to promote one's own fan page, and to encourage other fans of that page to "like" new Fan Pages when added on this page.  In otherwords, the link building 'strategies' that are now considered "black hat" for SEO are being encouraged within Facebook.  Okay, fine, they can get people a number of quick likes...but what is the point?

I had a client whom was taken in by that agency's promises of all things wonderful and a social media highway paved in gold.  That agency said that, just by signing up with them, my client's facebook fan page would get a whole lotta "likes" really fast.  To the agency's credit, they did get the client 179 likes in the first week.  HOWEVER, the Facebook Fan Page these folks were liking simply had the brand name, one random graphic - that's it.  No about info, no cover photo, no posts - no nothin!

So what, exactly, were these 179 people "liking?"

In my opinion, the best one could hope for was that these are paid people who get, say, 5 cents per brand they like and follow...an extra cent if they are willing to have the ads and feeds show that they "liked" the page.  Their credibility is wanting and their behavior has no impact on others.  AND, best case scenario, these folks, some of whom might actually be within the brand's target market, will forget that they ever visited my client's facebook fan page or whose page it was.

What if, though, this client's target market DOES end up visiting this vacant page.  What message is being conveyed, if 179 people would 'like' a page without anything on it?  Is that the company one wants to keep?  Do you expect anything of value to appear on this page in the future?  I know I wouldn't.

Social media's role in the advertising, marketing and public relations mix is, I suggest, partially the subtle peer pressure and competitive nature of social groups.  Who is the first to hear about something new?  Who is the last, and what is the social consequence of being the last to know?  Just like lawn signs in political campaigns create a feeling that there is a groundswell one way or another, having a lot of people "like" a facebook fan page can have a similar momentum.

But just because one person jumps off the cliff and likes a blank facebook fan page, does that mean others should, too?

Rather, just like in other advertising and marketing media, knowing whom your target market is and focusing your efforts on qualified leads, building a solid brand and laying the foundation for future, long-term growth - these are the keys to a successful social media campaign.  Make sure you have good, frequent and valuable content.  Think of your Facebook Fan Page as your customer service and training departments - you exist on Facebook to offer service, NOT as a sales department.  Don't depend on Facebook to be the one, quick fix to your business success.  Social media should be, for most companies, part of your marketing mix.  Rarely, though, will it suffice as the sole medium for your marketing plan.


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