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Since When Do We Have to ‘Like’ Someone Before We Begin a Conversation?

When the Web was young and digital marketing in its toddler shoes, a common practice was to require customers to fill out a form before they could access a site. Cheered on by “Get all the exciting news from Brand A” or “Don’t miss out on the latest events”, many customers signed on. Once spammers started to get rich and marketers over-communicated with their audience, these forms quickly disappeared. You didn’t have to fill out a form before you watched a commercial, grabbed a brochure or visited a store, why should that be different when it comes to digital?

Some tactics never die

Marketers are rehashing that old formula, forcing people to ‘like’ the brand before they can see any content. Brands and agencies continue to be obsessed with aggregating as many ‘Likes’ as possible. In the beginning it was done through other marketing channels, social games and apps installations. Increasingly, this has been replaced by using the ‘Like’ click as the price of entry to interact with content or get special offers.

Wasn’t social about conversations, engagement and long-term benefits?

Social Media was this big party where we can interact in transparent and authentic ways, right? We didn’t like the screamer that just yelled at us. Or the “Look-at-me-guy”, right? Last time I checked, those are as annoying as the people I need to endorse on LinkedIn or praise them publicly before we can start to talk. Don’t I deserve a chance to explore what they’re all about before I endorse them to all my friends?

Don’t mistake a “like” for an endorsement

Studies show that 58% of US Facebook users expect to gain access to exclusive content, events or sales after “liking” a company, while 58% also expect to receive discounts or promotions. More insightful is what Facebook customers don’t want: Bombardment with messages (54%), access to profile information (45%), pushing things into friends’ newsfeeds (31%) and companies contacting them through Facebook (29%).

We all have busy lives. We can’t “like” every brand, we don’t have enough time and bandwidth. Does it make sense to “like” everything that’s in my closet, office, living room, garage and shopping mall?

Exactly.

The forced “like” tactic might be a good choice for brand advocates. But, they are already on your side.

Wouldn’t you rather start a conversation with people that have no defined feelings toward your brand, winning them over? You’re forced “like” tactic might just result in the opposite.

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

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