Roger: “So do you like me or like-like me?”

JWoww: “Like-like.”

–Jer­sey Shore

JWoww seri­ously digs Roger; she “like-likes” him. A “like” would not have suf­ficed to com­mu­ni­cate her intent — some­thing more had to be said. That is why Roger asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion. It is this basic insight that CMOs have to under­stand if they want their Face­book mar­ket­ing cam­paigns to suc­ceed — that not all “likes” are cre­ated equal.

There are five types of “likes” in the Face­book eco-system: 



Fan page “like”

the like but­ton on your fan page

An ad “like”

the like but­ton on your Face­book ad

An app “like”

the like but­ton in your Face­book app

An off­site “like”

the like but­ton on your own web property

A com­ment “like”

the like on a Face­book comment

In all but the last case, the adver­tiser acquires a fan, which is reflected as a num­ber on the fan page. And while the virtues of acquir­ing a fan have been dis­cussed in detail on mul­ti­ple forums, web­sites and in the blo­gos­phere, it still begs the basic ques­tion: how many of these fans like you and how many really like you, eg “like-like” you ?

It is impor­tant to under­stand the nuances of intent between these “likes.” While some­one “lik­ing” an ad makes them a fan just like a per­son who “likes” your fan page, the value to your brand is arguably lower. An app liker might like your app, but do they like your business?

I am not argu­ing against “like” acqui­si­tion cam­paigns. In fact, I am firmly in the camp that believes in the value of “likes” and have seen sev­eral brands do a great job at acquir­ing, man­ag­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with their fans by fol­low­ing this strat­egy. The fans return the favor by becom­ing a part of the brand aware­ness con­scious­ness and show a strong propen­sity to buy from the brand.

Well-thought-out Face­book mar­ket­ing plans are now cru­cial. Under­stand­ing how to suc­cess­fully deploy a “like” cam­paign is a vital aspect of this. I have seen mar­ket­ing strate­gies suc­cess­fully build a fan base of 5 mil­lion users seem­ingly overnight. It’s a great goal — but wouldn’t you want to make sure these fans truly like your brand, eg “like-like” your brand?  The ones who really want to engage with you, the ones who will advo­cate your brand to their friends, the ones with a greater like­li­hood to buy your prod­ucts and hence will jus­tify your Face­book mar­ket­ing bud­get in the future.

What can CMOs do when build­ing a brand strategy?

1. Ask the hard ques­tions first. 

–What is the goal of my Face­book mar­ket­ing campaign?

–Why should I build this big fan base? 

–What value will I get out of it?

–How will I con­vince my bosses to give me a Face­book bud­get? (Remem­ber, you need an ini­tial  bud­get to adver­tise, build apps as well as an ongo­ing bud­get to engage with your grow­ing fan base)

2. Build an exe­cu­tion strategy.

–How will I acquire fans?  Organ­i­cally or with a com­bi­na­tion of Face­book advertising?

–Shall I build an app ? What will my app do?

–Who will run my PR and brand engage­ment efforts once my fan base is built?

–How will I incen­tivize my users to engage with my brand? What offers and pro­mo­tions will I use?

3. Fig­ure out who will do it.

–Will I run this pro­gram inter­nally or will I out­source it?

–Does my ven­dor have an inte­grated fan engage­ment and adver­tis­ing platform?

These ques­tions are dif­fi­cult to answer and open-ended. How­ever, by pos­ing them I hope to inspire you to build a fan base that not just “like-likes” your brand but loves it!

Dr. Sid­dharth Shah
Sr. Direc­tor, Busi­ness Analytics