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