When we're thinking about our social media strategy, we often want to do a lot with Facebook. We'd like it to become the place where all our fans meet and get together. We want Facebook to be our saviour. However, in most cases, I find it difficult to understand how to implement it beyond the mere communication and dissemination of our campaigns, brand or product. Perhaps it's only me who finds this difficult to grasp, or perhaps it's just not my strong point.
It's when we get to the topic du jour that I really get lost: "Likes."
I don't quite get it. I think we lose track of the real objective; perhaps I'm wrong. You're thinking about generating "Likes" but: what for? To what purpose?
- Attracting sponsors: you're going to have to do more than simply earn "Likes". That's if you have any discernment and expertise, of course. Otherwise, you're free to mislead any possible sponsors.
- Advertising: that's a challenge and also a way of annihilating your community. Getting your fans to accept advertising in your own community can be as difficult as running the Ultraman competition on one leg.
- Web Traffic: how can you know the traffic generated by the "Likes" to your content without establishing indicators that connect your fan pages and your website or blog?
- Generating leads: you need to create creative, attractive and stimulating "calls to action" and explain what to do with them to your community. Only in this way will you activate your community and generate online conversion, whatever form it takes: shopping at the online store, filling in a form with contact details, requesting a quote, sharing content, leaving feedback or registering a phone number, for instance.
Quite frankly, this is going to take some time because, more often than not, we don't have a real community to start with. Why would we aim for 10,000 fans if we're a small business and our target audience amounts to less than 1,000 fans? There is no real community until the community itself creates a movement for the brand, connecting its own members. Read what Chris Brogan has to say about it.
Likes Are the Means
If we don't have a community we cannot generate "Likes" or set objectives. As a result, there is no brand perception, visibility, exposure or traffic and we cannot generate any ROI. None of this exists because we haven't worked towards that. If you truly believe that five blog entries, a contest, a landing page, a few pictures and a video suffice to create value for those "Likes", then you're better off playing another game altogether. The community and any resulting "Likes" will come from hard work, every day. We need to work constantly and coherently to add value to the community. We must create a flow of content and interesting, dynamic news.
I'm not trying to be a killjoy, it's just what I see: if you want to generate "Likes" you'll need to get involved from the start. That involves sharing photos, creating content each and every single day, carrying out campaigns, promotions, surveys, product trials and frequently surprising your community. I stress this because we often focus so wholly on generating "Likes" that we don't see the work we must really carry out to get there.
I don't want to bang on about it. It's not an obsession. And yet, we're nothing without content! I've already said everything I need to say about it. Anything else would just be going on and on about it. Our responsibility is to make things happen. However, our small business, brand or agency isn't going to lift off as easily as we think. I've seen it time and time again. I'm sorry to be harsh, but it's best if we realise this much. What I'm simply trying to say is that content is at the core, the epicentre of it all. Without it, there are no "Likes" (which you'd like); there is no traffic, no visibility, no exposure, no content, there's nothing! You've been warned. Your content must be regular (minimum daily,) coherent and attractive. Moreover, it must start a conversation.
What do you do with your "Likes"? How do you extract value from them?
Photo credit: Thomas Angermann.