Friday, 18 February 2011

All "LIKES" Are NOT Created Equal

I was speaking to a friend who has recently resigned from a well known PR firm here in Toronto. They feel that their industry is being transformed by Social Media but not necessarily in the best way. It's become a tactical world of promo driven conversations that are selling snake oil to clients who are only too willing to buy it. Ultimately, we were talking about the marketing crisis of "LIKE".

What does that mean?

You know what I'm talking about.

Build my Social Media [fill in the blank] presence.
We need conversation generation about [really anything].
We need more .... dare we say it -- "LIKES"!

I get it.

-Lots of companies are not using their own URLs anymore and instead have Facebook URLs.
-Traditional advertising is loosing its affect with some key demographics.
-Marketers are being judged by their peers as to their KLOUT score or Facebook Fans.
-The few successful Social Campaigns are consistently paraded out by everyone at the strategy meetings as what we "must do" to be successful in the coming calendar year

The list of reasons are plenty.

But see here's the problem. Let's take Faceobok as the example.

Facebook is not traditional media.

It's actually a social network.
It's my network.
In fact, it's my media.

So what does that mean for marketers?
I think it means many "important ignore at your own peril" things.

You have to understand the underlying dynamics of networks.
You have to consider why people are spending their time there in the first place.
You have to understand the difference between PAID media and EARNED media.
You have to consider that those who feel that this is their media don't want YOU to co-opt it for marketing purposes.

Buying LIKES through contests, coupons, promos is not the same as building community.

It's not the same as having passionate advocates.
It's not building engagement with your brand.
It doesn't create a shared belief system between you and your customers.

There is no smart marketer in the world who i know who would put an entire marketing plan around how to get people to join a contest or use their coupons. So people, if that's what your Facebook plan looks like, I say it's time to get a new approach.

The dynamics of this new era of social enabled networks presents a world of opportunity to become meaningful to the culture, the people and the world around you. Don't waste it on buying yourself some Facebook LIKES.

You will find very shortly that all LIKES are simply not created equal.

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