Social Media Marketing or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Learned to Love the ‘like’

It’s no secret that the majority of companies are now looking to Facebook to garner new customers while maintaining brand image. The all and powerful ‘like’ on Facebook has now become the widely accepted benchmark for social media marketing success; but should it be?

Renowned e-marketing blogger Mark Shaefer recently brought this point up for discussion on his popular blog ‘Grow’. Mr. Shaefer argues that companies would be mistaken if they began their social media campaign by targeting ‘likes’ from Facebook users. Shaefer explains that the ‘like’ doesn’t adequately engage the users into forming meaningful and lasting relationships. While I am inclined to accept the discoveries of social media expert Mark Shaefer, I am unfortunately left puzzled due to my own personal encounters with the ‘like’.

STATS ARE FOR LOSERS

Marketing can be, and should be, boiled down to statistical analysis when ever possible. By quantifying a return on marketing efforts, corporations can make informed decisions about how to build relationships with its customers. The problem occurs when you try to quantify a ‘like’? Ask some business experts and you will most likely see conflicting views. Some defend the value of a ‘like’ and others adamantly reject its worth.

Although this may be categorized as irrational and wildly unconventional, I personally believe that companies should take it on faith that a ‘like’ is incredibly valuable. Companies should begin to stop worrying, and learn to love the ‘like’.

YOU GOT A FRIEND IN ME

My social media presence isn’t currently up to speed with the growing trends but I would like to believe that my online activity aligns with the average 22 year old college student. I more or less check my Facebook news feed  with some frequency as a relief from the mundane day to day activities.

To my surprise, I have found that companies I have liked have made significant impressions on me during our “un-engaged” relationship together. As long as these companies produced fresh content and popped up on my news feed, I began to feel personal involvement in the brand’s life.

IT WAS ‘LIKE’ AT FIRST SIGHT

A while back I ‘liked’ Atomic Coffee, a local coffee shop, because of content that was suggested to me by my friends activity. I saw the content they produced (chocolate covered bacon!?!?) and its novelty and originality pushed me to like their page out of sheer impulse. After some months passed, I seemed to grow fond of Atomic Coffee. I unexpectedly became an expert on their specials and their products. I began to view them as something else entirely: as my own friend.

I know what you are saying… a real friend? While I may have been speaking in hyperbole, the effect of seeing Atomic Coffee show up on my daily news feed nonetheless had an impact in my buying behavior. Atomic Coffee went from a store with goods to pass on to consumers to my personal coffee brewers in which I had a relationship unique to me. The ‘like’ in this instance has made the difference between utter anonymity and obsessive passion. If a simple ‘like’ could potentially make one consumer a brand advocate, then wouldn’t it be worth the marketing efforts to secure them?

… Well… No. Companies are mostly concerned with their bottom line and ‘likes’ don’t generally carry a dollar value amount. Even with that said, if I found myself atop the corporate ladder and head of marketing for a billion dollar company, rest assured I will most likely be one of the few that stops worry and loving each and every ‘like’.