What’s the Value of a Like? [Research]

Romancing the Like

Love is in the air.

Three out of five Facebook users have liked a brand in the last six months, according to research by eVoc Insights and reported by eMarketer. Slightly more than half feel somewhat more inclined to purchase. From a marketer’s perspective, what does this mean? (Here’s research related to Facebook and it’s IPO.)

To answer this question, think romance. What’s in it for prospects and customers? (Here’s additional research on consumer and marketer perceptions related to social media showing similar trends. )

 But likes are easy. Here’s why:

  1. No information required. Like trying out new pickup lines in a bar or other public place, nothing’s exchanged. After a participant clicks to like a page or post, nothing else is required. Unlike email or text messages, nothing is pushed to them via a communication channel.
  2. Allure of potential discounts. For most consumers, this is the connection they’re seeking. It’s like wondering whether you’ll exchange phone numbers with someone you’ve just met. For marketers, the challenge is that they need to attract prospects to Facebook in addition to offering lower prices. This is a double whammy! It translates to lower margins and trains customers to wait for better deals.
  3. Desire to interact with other fans. As a marketer, you need to get over yourself. Users fan you to engage with others with whom they share similar interests. In this case, you’re just providing the social media drinks – in a manner of speaking.
  4. Gets them attention. Likes are a way to get enhanced information and other goodies without any commitment.
  5. Makes them look good. When it comes to romance, everyone wants to look his or her best. Depending on your product, a Facebook like may reflect well on how they’re perceived. Yet for marketers this is a zero sum game since it’s not the same as buying and using a designer handbag, for example.

So what a marketer to do? Take a dating approach to Facebook. Use it to attract a broader customer base but understand you still must convert these prospects to buyers. Therefore, romance them!

  1. Show up at the Facebook party. Let prospects and customers check you out while they’re in the research phase. As the 800 pound gorilla of social media, Facebook warrants attention. It’s important to stake out your turf for branding and competitive reasons.
  2. Offer valuable content. Provide context in the form of useful content that educates and entertains. Also, ask prospects and customers to contribute to the conversation and content. If you’re too overzealous in your Facebook interactions, they’re gone.
  3. Strike up a conversation with prospects, customers and the public. Contribute to the interaction as you would in any social setting. Also, let visitors talk to each other. In addition to answering each other’s questions, they want this interaction. Just create the forum.
  4. Be ready to seal the deal. Make sure prospects and customers can purchase once they’re ready. Whether you use f-commerce or another option, streamline the purchase process to the fewest steps possible or you risk loosing the sales.
  5. Offer good service to your customers. Consumers often cite this reason for connecting with brands on social media. To this end, have employees engaged on Facebook and other social media platforms who can respond to customer questions via written responses.

The bottom line is that a like carries no guarantee for marketers or for customers. Likes are loose associations because nothing’s required beyond a single click. While it’s positive engagement, customers can’t ask for less and marketers want more.

How do you assess the value of a like?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/1483193019/
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