A Facebook Like Is Worth Nothing

Posted on 17 June 2011

I saw an article in the “South China Morning Post” newspaper recently (June 15) about an online campaign being run by the French hotel brand Sofitel.

People are invited to go to the campaign’s dedicated website to “record a travel journal of eight dream locations from among the 120 destinations where the chain is present.” They can “increase their chances by becoming fans of the brand via Facebook.”

The article reports that Sofitel “hopes to double fans of its Facebook page through the campaign.”

Please! What nonsense!

Just because someone clicks the “Like” button on a brand’s Facebook page, that doesn’t necessarily mean that:

  • they like the brand
  • they intend to buy the product
  • they’ll be a loyal customer
  • they’ll recommend the product or company to their friends
  • they want to receive sales messages
  • they want to have a relationship with the brand

Clicking the “Like” button requires absolutely no investment of emotional energy. In the case of this online competition, it probably just means that the people want to increase their chances of winning. They don’t have to like Sofitel to do that.

So the number of fans on a brand’s Facebook page is meaningless, and aiming to double that number is a meaningless, ridiculous goal for a brand. When people become fans, the brand manager needs to ask: So what? Now what? Are these people the RIGHT fans for us? Are they current/prospective customers? Will they be loyal customers? Will they be enthusiastic, influential brand ambassadors? How will we ENGAGE with them to build a long-term relationship, far beyond the end of this short-term campaign?

The marketing goal should be stated in terms of the results the brand hopes to achieve from its Facebook page, not in terms of the number of people who click “Like”.

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