Last year Facebook gained wide acceptance as a business tool and ‘Likes’ became a target for most organisations. Sadly few people have really understood what Likes are capable of, how they work or what they’re actually for. How they can work for - or even against - you.
What they’re not for is as a vanity project or measure of popularity. This not only does not work (as anyone who even glances around the web can find places where you can get 1,000 or even 10,000 Likes for $50 or so). No one is fooled - or not for very long.
EMPTY LIKES CAN DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH
What the seller of these empty Likes - the Facebook equivalent of get-rich-quick merchants - won’t tell you is that EMPTY LIKES CAN DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH.
They can damage your business health - and it’s future - as businesses start to gain massive benefits from their proper use and you’ve effectively locked yourself out - or at least increased your costs, maybe many-fold.
Let me explain why, what they are really for and how you can use them to generate thousands of real prospects which you CAN reach time and again, at will.
From Fishing To Farming
Many of the world fishing grounds are showing decreased yield and signs of chronic overfishing. Traditional marketing is also suffering because the ‘fish’ have become smarter, more cynical and more resistant to traditional approaches.
Likes are part of a new approach based on goodwill, trust and advocacy. In both cases the old approach is no longer sustainable. In this case farming can be not only more sustainable but more profitable for those who understand what’s happening to marketing and the world.
Let me also say that in this area there is way more hype than most - but this article will be a Hype-free-zone. We’ll be glad to back up what we say here from experience with case studies and more on request.
What Likes Are For
In order to explain Why Empty Likes Are Dangerous I need to explain What Likes Are Really For- as nature (or at least Facebook) intended. It’s this:
Facebook Likes exist to connect your business to:
1. It’s customers and advocates and
2. Their Friends.
It’s the second point that is usually missed and is, in fact, the crucial one. The first reason is sheer numbers. We’ll come to that in a moment. The second reason is Facebook takes the small but significant liberty of turning all your fans (customers, prospects, advocates) into advocates on your behalf. Crucially Without them having to lift a finger.
This has the dual effect of
1.Getting you way more attention than you’d otherwise get (because you are being introduced by a friend) and
2. Short-circuiting the bane of modern marketing - ie traditional marketing hype has ensured that everything a marketer says - especially in an ad - is taken with a ton of salt… UNLESS IT’S CORROBORATED BY A PEER.
Together this is probably the most potent marketing formula available anywhere - as the numbers reveal.
70% of the online population (UK and USA) are active in Facebook - half of those on any one day spending an average of 55 minutes in Facebook (ie It’s part of their life).
On average each fan (or ‘Liker’ to coin the term) will have over 100 friends (ie people who are likely potential buyers as they have something in common with your fan - to whom they’re linked by friendship). This is a VERY CONSERVATIVE RATIO. For some businesses we’ve measured it’s over 400 per fan. Let’s use 100 as a conservative figure to make the sums easy.
If you have 10 Likers you should be able to reach 1,000 prospects - via friends
If you have 50 Likers you should be able to reach 5,000 prospects - via friends
If you have 100 Likers you should be able to reach 10,000 prospects - via friends
If you have 1,000 Likers you should be able to reach 100,000 prospects - via friends… etc
What’s more you can do this very selectively - selecting just local people for example. In many cases we’ve found that around 35% of the total turn out to be local. So with just 100 FULL-FAT LIKES this will give you a pool of around 3,000 well-introduced local prospects - even on the conservative figures we’ve been using.
What’s a FULL-FAT LIKE?
It’s the opposite of an empty Like. It’s a Like from a fan who is genuinely interested in what your business offers - and therefore by extension has ‘friends’ who are likely to have interests in common. Full-fat Likes usually come from customers and visitors - sometimes prospects.
Getting Likes from such people is not so easy as buying ‘Empty Likes’. The good news is you don’t need large numbers to get things moving and there are techniques and approaches you can learn to get them - capturing customers etc. We been researching in this area and have developed some innovative techniques and proved some new tech - a cloud service.
Once you have some, and if you know how, you can use deftly ‘breed’ a small number of Likes into a much larger number (we have also developed and proved ways to do this systematically and inexpensively which you can use). Each time you increase your Likes by a small amount you increase your marketing pool of prospects by a much larger one.
DNA - Breeding is the Key!
However you can only breed from what you already have. So if you have ‘Full-fat’ Likes you will breed more, and populate your marketing pool with genuinely good prospects.
The bad news is that if you have already polluted your Like pool with empty-likes to make up numbers then not only has your money been wasted I’m afraid but it may well have created a significant obstacle to marketing effectively via Facebook. Many of those in this situation may be better advised to (quietly) start again. Unless a clever strategy can be devised to work around the empty shells.
Likes are a powerful marketing tool - not a vanity project. But not all Likes are equal and the wrong sort can get in your way and cost you time, effort and money. The right sort (Full-fat Likes) can deliver a really powerful marketing resource for your business that can be grown and used time and again.