What is the real value of a "like" and how much energy should you devote to getting "liked"?
Two major issues face marketers seeking to tap the millions of highly-engaged Facebook users and harness their buying power or influence. The first is answering an age-old question in a brand new ecosystem; what is the value of a "like." The second is whether or not to devote marketing and media resources with the primary objective of being liked (as opposed to being well-liked).
We'll get to the value of a "like" in a moment. But first, I'd like to address the bigger issue in mind: the desire by marketers to drive customer engagement through and with their Facebook presences. Sure, that's where millions of people hang out online, but let's investigate whether it is in your best interest to promote your Facebook page as a point of engagement.
If you are mentioning your Facebook URL in offline/online advertising, or specifically driving users to your Facebook page when running Facebook advertising, consider the fact that you are one of the corporations doing Facebook's marketing for it, perhaps more than accomplishing your own marketing objectives. A staggering percentage of advertising, including TV, radio (including the radio stations themselves), print, outdoor, and of course online marketing include a call to action to go to the advertiser Facebook page. That works out great for Facebook because it gets to piggy-back on billions of advertising dollars. Add to that the fact that social media outreach within Twitter and public relations initiatives often includes Facebook URLs. It's good to be Facebook right now because billions of ad dollars and earned media exposure are all accruing to the Facebook brand.
Let's look at what we marketers get (or can potentially get) when choosing to interact with our Facebook audiences:
So, if you are currently only using "likes" as an objective for your online marketing (advertising and earned media), you may want to come up with a strategy that includes the use of Facebook Connect, and make sure you have something of value to offer your prospects and customers that will:
"Likes" alone don't cut it, but websites and applications enjoy the power of Facebook Connect, which has a lot of options available exclusively to it. Specifically:
Do you need full access to all of these areas? There will be a drop-off of acceptance of your connection terms if you ask for too much, but on the other hand, if you can propose a great reason why the consumer should give you full access to their Facebook universe, you can make a much stronger case for investment into the platform. For me, though, having email address access to the consumer is really important, because Facebook can change the rules of engagement at any time.
Facebook earns billions of dollars from advertising every year, and that number is growing as more and more time is spent on the Facebook site, particularly by power users (those who spend more than an hour a day on Facebook). It's certainly worth looking at. But I don't ascribe much value to a "like" alone, particularly when compared to a "connect." With the right technology, you can track how your media and marketing are delivering "likes" and "connects." If you want to assign an arbitrary or calculated value to a "like" or "connect" and manage search or display ad campaigns to optimize for that behavior, just make sure you've thought it through.
Kevin is off today. This column was originally published on May 13, 2011 on ClickZ.
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Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit's proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company's unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (No. 137) as well as three-time Deloitte's Fast 500 placement. Kevin's latest book, "Search Engine Advertising" has been widely praised.
Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman. "The Wall St. Journal," "BusinessWeek," "The New York Times," Bloomberg, CNET, "USA Today," "San Jose Mercury News," and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife, a New York psychologist and children.
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