If they “like” you, do they really “like” you? The importance of identifying and nurturing Brand Advocate “likes” on Facebook

Motivations for likes on Facebook

There are companies that promise to get 10,000 fans on Facebook for a price. This is clearly not a very good strategy. There are others that offer discounts and promotions to get liked. While this is a viable strategy to get more people to “like” your Facebook page, it doesn’t help you in the long run, unless you have something of value to offer, in addition to the initial discount. I have liked only a few organizations simply because I like receiving the updates they send me that are informative. If I started liking too many brands, I am just going to have more brands as friends than people and it is all going to get lost in the noise. Across all age groups, the number one reason for using Facebook is for maintaining personal contacts and to stay connected with old friends and friends faraway. At the same time, according to data published by eMarketer, 40% of U.S. internet users state that their motivation for liking a brand or company was to receive discounts or promotions (See chart below).
Motivations for liking a brand, company, or association on Facebook
If we look at the statistics in the graph, you can distinguish between three types of “likes”

•  likes of commitment – “committed likes,”
•  those “bought” for discounts and giveaways;in other words, “discounted likes,” and
•  those that are clearly “likes” that mean nothing or “fake likes.”

Only the “likes of commitment” actually count in the long run. While you can get “likes” in return for giveaways, these are not likely to be your core Brand/Product advocates. About 40% of U.S. Internet users “liked” to show their support, but this could have been for organizations with a cause. Although it counts as a “like of commitment”, it might be overstated in the context of brands and companies. Even if you decide to buy these “likes” in return for either immediate discounts or information about future sales, it is important to distinguish between those “likes” that are bought for discounts and giveaways and those real likes of commitment that like to stay informed. This latter group is likely to be your core group of advocates. If you decide to lean toward “Discounted likes”, make sure you have something of value to offer. Likes for discounts and giveaways can be a strategy for increasing awareness and increasing your user base. However, ultimately without value, most “likes” mean nothing in the longer term.

Here are some ways to increase and use likes:

•  To get new likes offer a discount or promotion, because it works!
•  Offer a discount conditionally, such as promotion available if 5,000 like the page; this is likely to create it virally and get you to a large number quickly. Another variation is to offer the discount or promotion, say to the first 1000. This kind of Groupon like urgency will also get the number of likes up quickly.
•  If you already have a base that you communicate with regularly through other channels, give them an incentive to use the Facebook channel as well. This gives you the opportunity to differentiate both your offerings through the two channels, as well as identify your hardcore enthusiasts and advocates from less loyal customers. One way to do this is to offer them the means to receive daily updates on something of value to your target market such as exercise tips from Active.com. It is important to have a clearly defined strategy for why you would want your newsletter recipients to like your page. Remember that these should be different touch points to reach your buyers, not a means to annoy them with spam.
•  Most importantly, all Facebook “likes” are not created equal as established. Remember to distinguish between different types of likes. It is your “likes of commitment” that matter the most in the long run. They are likely to be your product/brand advocates.