Why I Don’t Like Your Brand on Facebook

Guest post by Andrew Blakeley. Follow him on Twitter (for exclusive deals and offers!)

I recently undertook a simple Facebook experiment, inspired by a brief Monday morning rant from my boss: “This morning my yoghurt told me to find it on Facebook. It didn’t tell me why, it just told me to find it. Why on Earth would I want to find a yoghurt on Facebook? It’s a yoghurt!”

He was right, of course. As social networks slowly become the default online presence for brands to drive their consumers to, adverts, marketing and packaging has started telling us where to go. However, it hasn’t yet started telling us why to go there.

For my experiment – “Find Us On Facebook” – I vowed to Like every brand that asked me to for one week. I would then blog and analyse the various offerings of each brand, in particular how they were attempting to drive people from the offline world to the online, social, world. Here are the results:

As a marketer, I found the results very disappointing. For an industry the focuses endlessly on providing consumers with “benefits” and “reasons to believe” here was a lot of marketing asking people to take an action, without telling them what they stood to gain from it. In 2011 it’s more or less a given that your brand can be found on Facebook, and consumers know that. What they don’t know is why they should bother.

What consumers want from brands in social media is a topic that has been widely written about already, and is fairly well understood by marketers. Research from advertising agency DDB Paris found that amongst the top reasons for Liking a brand were: “to take advantage of promotional benefits”,” to be informed of new products offered by the brand”,” to access exclusive information” and “to give my opinion about the brand”. Four very clear reasons to bother, which could easily be affixed or suffixed onto any “Find us on Facebook” message for greater impact.

Another key finding was the number of brand Liking requests coming from email marketing. These are brands that I had chosen to receive email marketing from directly into my inbox, and here they were asking to appear in my Facebook newsfeed too. They weren’t, however, telling me why I should open myself up to them in another channel.

Only 1 of the 16 brands provided an incentive to make the leap from email to social media. I literally had no reason to bother with the other brands, as I was already receiving their deals and offers, and they weren’t giving me another reason. Some brands have found interesting ways to incentivise people to make the jump:

• Dingo, a dog food brand from Ohio, included a promotion that would only kick-in when the Facebook page reached 5,000 fans (from a base of 300). They had an unprecedented take-up, with fans forwarding on the email to their friends and encouraging sign-ups to get the offer. They hit the 5,000 mark in just 3 days.

• Bag retailer Timbuk2 included an opportunity to win a bike, helmet and messenger bag in an email to its 100,000 newsletter subscribers. It received 6,500 clickthroughs vs. just 9 from its generic social call to action.

Consumers need these incentives, because they know that otherwise all they’re doing is agreeing to be bombarded with more marketing unrewarded.

The sad thing is that some brands are actually building really fun, engaging content in these spaces, but not making people aware of them. The Fosters beer page, for instance, is full of great exclusive Alan Partridge content, starring Steve Coogan and written by Armando Iannucci. Their TV ad, however, had nothing more than a Facebook URL. Had they said “for exclusive Alan Partridge episodes” they would’ve opened their brand Facebook page up to a whole wealth of people, who felt genuinely motivated to click Like.

My week as a social consumer left me tired and confused. It left my Facebook newsfeed so crammed with nonsense to the point that I could scroll entire pages without seeing my friends. It left me a bit sad for the digital marketers and agencies who were building great content that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. So, if you’re reading this and you work in advertising or are a brand manager – next time you think about telling your consumers to find you on Facebook, consider telling them why.

Artist: Natalie Dee

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  • http://twitter.com/slcmyers Shannon Myers

     I agree and really never thought of that in the wording “Find Us on Facebook”. I have to go find you and then what? Why? I usually ask my clients why they want something and the purpose. This hammers it home nicely. Thank you, definitely one to share. 

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    nice reminder, seriously. thank you. 

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  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

     Brilliant article, Andrew!! Thank you for conducting the experiment and sharing your findings with us. I loved the examples you gave too – kudos to Dingo! They’re way up to 25k+ likes now. 

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

     Brilliant article, Andrew!! Thank you for conducting the experiment and sharing your findings with us. I loved the examples you gave too – kudos to Dingo! They’re way up to 25k+ likes now. 

  • http://marismith.com Mari Smith

     Brilliant article, Andrew!! Thank you for conducting the experiment and sharing your findings with us. I loved the examples you gave too – kudos to Dingo! They’re way up to 25k+ likes now. 

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  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com Kaarina Dillabough

    @twitter-15756441:disqus  Such a great post.  And isn’t it the “why” that’s important in most choices…Why is someone on social media?  Why comment on blogs? Why click the ‘like’ button?

    Underlying all of our human behaviour that “results in results”, there needs to be a compelling reason: a wide-eyed-wonder…why.

    My clients and potential clients are often chasing the tail of the latest “thing to do”, without first asking themselves: Why am I doing this, for what significant beneficial value to my customer?  Providing compelling reasons that result in value and benefit is the starter’s pistol that gets people off the blocks and into action.  It boils down to the WIIFM: what’s in it for me.  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • http://twitter.com/DeepDishCreates Lara Dickson

    Following through on the ‘why you should like us’ would be the real kicker, though. Don’t just pitch to me over and over, give me something worth maintaining my ‘likeness’. 5,000 new fans would be great, but how many are going to end up customers?

  • http://twitter.com/SolWith Sol With Jonassen

     hahaha…very nice…lovely and to the point! 

  • Catherine

    Good article that made me think about my @classiclegacy  brand.   I do want my followers to know that I will provide tips and news about gifts and custom design.   It is important to Engage and add value …..that is what I like best about the pages that I follow.

  • http://twitter.com/ClassicLegacy Catherine Tatum

    Good article that made me think about my @classiclegacy  brand.  
    I do want my followers to know that I will provide tips and news about
    gifts and custom design.   It is important to Engage and add value
    …..that is what I like best about the pages that I follow.

     

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  • http://www.bebops.co.nz Tash

    I worry about offering people a prize or incentive as its against FBs rules to do giveaways. I do tell my ‘likers’ or likers-to-be to pop over, visit us for sales, fun and news about latest cloth nappy happenings. I have done giveaways in the past (before i knew the rules) and people join very fast as they want to win, but doesnt make the page anymore engaging because some are only interested in winning something, relevant or not!

    Definately something to think about, and i try and make my page and business more personal everyday so this is another reason to keep trying! Thanks ;)

  • http://twitter.com/JanRossiCO Jan Rossi

     Very good information that needed to be said and you did it so well! giving people a good reason to like your page is very important. I am going to be re-evaluating my clients pages and we will pay attention to giving their customers a reason…..very well said.

  • http://laloba.com Trace

     Excellent Advice!  And interesting work you did on the pages you looked at to ‘like’.  Is sad that there is so much going on on Facebook that the really good stuff can be lost in shuffle.

  • tyler durden

    As a lover of swag, or even a robust discount, I gotta say that both leave me feeling cheated. I need my brands to inspire a deeper conversation. Praps through intimate, unexpected,, and authentic things. Prolly innit another cinch bag, koozie, or refer magnet. Nearly 100% of the brands I’ve made the mistake of liking have used that permission asset to broadcast drivel. Oh well, opportunity lost.

  • http://BestSellerAuthors.com Warren Whitlock

     If your goal is to let people know you are on Facebook, then adding a logo is fine. If you want to look like you have fans, then an incentive is okay. But both miss the real power of social media engagement. 

  • http://twitter.com/MoodHairSalon Jojo Montoya

     My thoughts after reading this and discussing with my very social teen, why she liked the pages she does – her answer made me think – well then go and tell them why you like them…so my next project will be to help those I like and tell them exactly why I have added them to my favs – great post, you certainly have created a buzz on the like!

  • http://twitter.com/MoodHairSalon Jojo Montoya

     My thoughts after reading this and discussing with my very social teen, why she liked the pages she does – her answer made me think – well then go and tell them why you like them…so my next project will be to help those I like and tell them exactly why I have added them to my favs – great post, you certainly have created a buzz on the like!

  • http://twitter.com/carolconcierge Classic Exec

     My thoughts after reading this and discussing with my very social teen, why she liked the pages she does – her answer made me think – well then go and tell them why you like them…so my next project will be to help those I like and tell them exactly why I have added them to my favs – great post, you certainly have created a buzz on the like!

  • http://www.itsmyurls.com/BeckyCortino Becky Cortino

    Great Facebook Experiment, Andrew! Interesting to note no reasons are usually given as to “why” a brand’s Facebook Page should either be sought out or “Liked,” other than for the sole purpose (‘why’) of amassing a Facebook following. As you well know, an effective Facebook Page is an opp to create excellent customer relationships, provide information to interested followers and make special offers to keep the business and FB followers coming in. At this rate, no surprise RE: complaints related to Social Media ROI and great ‘expense’ of time, when the medium is so misused, is it? Oh, and as related to the drowning out of useful content in your feed — yesterday I was thinking how great it would be if Facebook would aggregate FB Page feed separately on the home page…  

    • http://twitter.com/leasummers Leanne Summers

      I have a facebook page for my blog on eating out – I use the page to “like” the brands that I like eating out at/getting produce from – this helps to unclutter my feed so I have only friends in my main feed and then foody things in my page’s feed. It’s great to have that option.. I think facebook should allow filtering so everyone could do this!!

    • Valerie

      …..same Becky! I have been wondering if there could be a filter that streams yours friends aside from the ‘likes’.
      I follow quite a few interesting sites and miss stuff as the pages fill up quickly!! cheers……..me, valerie

    • http://www.itsmyurls.com/BeckyCortino Becky Cortino

      Valerie — thanks and I agree. Let’s hope Facebook will soon implement a feature to segment these feeds and enhance the user experience. I think brands with Facebook Pages would appreciate the greater visibility as well! If you think about it, the FB feed as it is set up today, differs somewhat but not a great deal, from how it has functioned in the last several years. Not surprising many folks think they’re not able to keep up, with FB Pages in addition to FB Friends to catch updates!

    • Laura Alisanne

      Creating Lists is a good option for managing the way in which you’d like to view the content on your News Feed. I have 8 lists, from “All Friends” to fan pages “In My Industry” to “Best Social Media Pages.” It’s an extra step, but you can then click “Most Recent”  on your News Feed, and select the List you’d like to have populate the feed.

    • http://www.itsmyurls.com/BeckyCortino Becky Cortino

      I agree about creating lists, and have a bunch myself. Thanks for sharing how you use yours Laura. I’m referring to a Facebook feature creating a separate simultaneously-running feed expressly for Facebook Pages, in addition to the current feed we have (but only for friends). This way, we can stay up with realtime events, updates and info on different channels instead of wading through the quickly-moving feed comprised of the mashup of everyone in our network and all the Facebook Page updates.

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  • http://twitter.com/Stefi_War Stephanie Warzecha

     I do enjoy this article a lot and it does make sense, however there also needs to be a consideration that you are also trying to build and interactive community of people around your brand. Simply offering people something to follow you on Facebook might bring in the wrong type of people. People who do not want to listen to what you have to say and people that will hide you from their news feed. Yes sure it is great to have a nice big following on your page but I will take quality followers over those that are only in it to receive free stuff, any day. 

    One of the main reasons that the “Follow me on Facebook” slogan is loosing its value is because of business pages that do not provide quality content. A business page has the responsibility of providing this to their followers.

    In the end we can provide whatever call to action we want but if we are not providing valuable information on the actual page itself then your audience will be worthless to your business. 

    If you have a great website, which is the hub of your business, then you should also have a great facebook page or any other platform that you use for marketing, otherwise you are lowering your reputation for your followers.  

    I still believe in growing a page organically by knowing what you are going to offer your “likers”, having a plan, delivering or over delivering on your promise (You already made a promise to them when you put the facebook icon on your website, to deliver the same great content that they have experienced from you on your website,on any other platform you ask for them to follow – make sense?)

    Once you have a plan for your page then that is when you can start applying the things mentioned in this blog and find yourself with a great interactive listening-to-your-message audience. 

    You can follow me on twitter if you like @Stefi_War:twitter but I’m only getting started on that platform and learning myself. However I plan to deliver more of my opinions on the way social media is used these days and retweet anything that I think is of great quality from people I follow. :)

  • http://twitter.com/GiaMedia3 GiaMedia3.com

     Brian, I really loved this article!  Thanks for posting it.

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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