Please "Like Me?"
Facebook has somehow become the de facto standard for pushing our products or services on the web. Yet, it's probably one of the most difficult to grow and manage, simply because it is tightly controlled and monetized for the benefit of Facebook - not you.
Because Facebook is a closed system, the only way your potential customers can see your Facebook page is by joining Facebook themselves. This may not be a huge barrier to entry, since Facebook now boasts more than one billion (yes, "billion") subscribers worldwide; but, for some, having to perform this initial step in order to "Like" a page can be a barrier to following through. In addition, in the July 2013 survey performed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook received a score of 62 out of 100, placing it in the bottom 5% of all private-sector companies in terms of customer satisfaction, alongside industries such as the IRS e-file system, airlines and cable companies (What, you don't like your cable company?).
So, if Facebook is the place everyone visits, but no one is particularly happy with having to be there, how do you, as a business or nonprofit, determine whether to spend your time and resources getting people to "Like" your page?
First some quick stats. From a 2011 survey conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey:
- 52% of American over 18 spend at least an hour a week on Facebook
- 56% of those under 35 interact with their favorite brands on Facebook - far more than Twitter, Linkedin, etc.
- 77% read the posts, news and offers of their favorite brands
- 51% say they're more likely to buy a brand's product after becoming a fan
The reason most people do business with you is because of the perceived quality of services or products you offer. Those same reasons are why most people will choose to "Like" you on Facebook.
Here are some things to think about when determining how you want to approach your "Like Us" campaign:
1. People "Like" you because they are already your customer and/or they are looking for discounts, promotions, special deals, etc. Providing benefits is the least expensive and most effective way to get someone to "Like" you. This method has impact beyond Facebook and out into the real world. Providing direct benefits leads to your customers acting as your extended sales team, letting their contacts know about what you're offering and touting its value for you. There's nothing better than positive word of mouth promotion from unbiased third party endorsers!
However, remember that one-time offers often provide only short-term results. Besides offers, you need to provide other tangible benefits, like useful tips, industry updates, access to priority customer service, etc. that will keep your fans engaged.
2. People "Like" you because they want to be the first to access exclusive content. One of the most valuable things you can offer is exclusive knowledge you can share with your Facebook fans before anyone else. Letting your fans be the first ones to read a guide or article, or watch a video - and then share it - is a powerful benefit you can offer them. Think about the content you can share on Facebook that will keep people engaged and interested in sharing with others.
3. People "Like" you because they want others to know that they like you, or they respect your views or skills. Some people have said that Facebook is similar to high school, where you want to be associated with the cool kids. On Facebook, instead of kids, it's brands. But now the customer can control what is cool, not someone who tells them what to like. This doesn't mean that peer influence has no impact on their choices; in fact, by sharing what they "Like," they're hoping that other people in their network will "Like" these brands' pages, too.
The bottom line is, if you give people good reasons to "Like" your business or organization in the real world, they will more often than not “Like” you on Facebook as well. Give your current and future customers a reason to "Like" you - not just on Facebook, but in every aspect of your interaction with them. If you can do that, they - not your Facebook "Likes" - will become your best advocates in bringing you more customers, and more dollars to your bottom line.
Thanks to Heidi Wong (Twitter @htoby) for her insights on this subject.