Want to get exclusive content on our brand Facebook page? "Like" us! Want to participate in our fun new contest? "Like" us! Want to take advantage of the discount? "Like" us!
This is the new hot tactic used by marketers nowadays to get their fan count up. They are constructing the "like" walls. A number of big brands, such as Macy’s, 1-800 Flowers, Bud Light, and Gap, practice it.
The logic behind this thinking is simple: We provide valuable incentives in return for the larger community on Facebook. Sounds fair, right? However, you are then faced with the dilemma: Do you want more Likes or do you want more advocates in your community who would have liked you no matter what monetary incentives you are trying to offer?
There are a lot of people out there who are looking to get a quick coupon or discount. After all, who doesn’t like free stuff? There are a number of businesses that offer a cool discount a day/a week on their Facebook page. It seems to work for them. But are they truly building relationships or are they just using their page to broadcast the deals and sell products? Unless you are prepared to offer your community a constant flow of coupons and discounts, the success of any single promotion will be short-lived. I would also question the quality of your fans and if they are truly present on your page. What you want is to build a community of advocates who truly participate, which means a consistent dialogue, smooth feedback loop, and your fans sharing their stories and their experiences with your brand. If you have a large community that is quiet---is it a good thing?
It used to be that un-liking a page was hard; it required several steps and was confusing. Now, it is as easy as clicking the unlike button. A number of brands reported a huge drop-off rate post-promotion. Consensus is that that drop-off rate is on average 50% after the promotion is complete. Meaning that those promotions don’t work. Meaning that you are diluting your fans and depreciating the value of your community.
So instead of "like-gating," why don’t we provide our fans compelling content and relevant messaging? Why don’t we make it easy for our fans to interact with us and our content? Why not post happy holiday wishes, short trivia questions, interesting polls, and fun videos to help us say communicate our message and truly hear theirs? Why not make it easy and fun for them to share among their friends? And if we must build the "Like walls," why not be very selective in how we do it?
If you are not creating valuable customer relationships, then does the fan count matter?
Ekaterina Walter is a social media innovator at Intel. A recognized business and marketing thought leader, she is a speaker and a regular contributor to Mashable, Fast Company, Huffington Post, and other leading-edge print and online publications. She is an author of the book Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Walter has been featured in Forbes and BusinessReviewUSA and was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media in 2012. She sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and is an active member of the Thunderbird Global Council at Thunderbird School of Global Management. Twitter: @ekaterina. Blog: www.ekaterinawalter.com.