Every time you turn around these days, someone is asking you to “like” them on Facebook, or to follow them on Twitter. People (and businesses) like to be liked. But is that good marketing?
A non-profit organization I know has been doing a lot of posting on Facebook recently. But many of their posts are actually reposts of pretty pictures, humorous anecdotes, and clever slogans that have nothing to do with what they are about or with what their constituents are really concerned about.
When challenged about this tactic, their response has been, “But we’re getting lots of ‘likes’ when we post these things.” But being liked is not the point if you’re being liked for the wrong reason. This organization isn’t helping readers find answers or solve problems. And they’re not establishing their own credibility or identity.
Social media isn’t the only place where this happens. Recently my wife told me about a TV commercial she liked. In it, two teens stand by the side of the road staring at a wrecked car. One says, “Dude, you don’t understand. That’s my dad’s car. He’s gonna kill me!” Then a phrase comes onscreen that says, “He can only kill you if you’re OK.”
My wife liked the powerful message about safety. Then I asked her: “What car company was the add for?” Her reply? “Volvo, I think.” In fact, the ad is for the VW Passat. And it’s a good ad. I like it, too. But what good does that do VW if their ad drives me to a competitor?
Businesses spend a lot of time, effort, and money trying to create messaging that people will like. They try to be creative, clever, and memorable. Those are all good things, but It doesn’t matter whether you are blogging or posting on Facebook or doing direct mail or running TV ads—the point is not to get people to like you. The point is to give people information the want and need in order to make a decision that will make their lives better. And the point is to position your business as the first place they turn to meet their needs.
It’s not wrong to have people like you. Just make sure it’s really you they like and that they like you for the right reason.