How to Really Get “Liked” on Facebook

By Dr. Angela Hausman, Associate Professor at Howard University

“Likes” have replaced “fans” on business Facebook pages. Having more likes is a good thing, and Starbucks is the leading company, with more than 16 million likes. Starbucks is followed closely by Coca Cola, with more than 15 million likes. You can see the rest of the top 25 companies on the TNW Web site. As the average Facebook user has 80 friends, Starbucks’ message reaches more than 1.26 billion people!

How to Avoid the Top Three Facebook Faux Pas

Getting likes involves more than building a Facebook business page and waiting for people to find it. And if you use your business page as just another outlet for your press releases, as many businesses on Facebook do, you’re not likely to generate much interest or get many likes. Similarly, using your Facebook fan page to echo your tweets is a bad idea. Certainly, putting some good tweets on Facebook is fine, but don’t link them so all your tweets are automatically sent to your Facebook page. Buying Facebook fans or engaging in Facebook exchanges (where businesses agree to like each other) are similarly bad ideas, as they deliver fans who are not truly engaged with the brand.

Getting Likes

The key to getting Facebook likes is to give people a reason for liking your brand. Here are some great examples of ways to drive Facebook likes:

  • Support a cause. Pedigree recently launched a campaign to encourage dog owners to like its brand. For every Facebook user who did so, Pedigree donated a bowl of dog food to an adoption center. To date, more than a million bowls of food have been donated—which means Pedigree has added a million new likes. As part of the strategy, Pedigree also encourages sharing the program across about a dozen other social media platforms.
  • Give exclusive content. People want to feel special and love having access to information and products before anyone else. Having this access encourages them to like your brand and increases the likelihood they’ll pass along your information to their friends. Movie producers, book authors, and musical performers use this extensively. For instance, Taylor Swift often gives fans advance access to her music tracks or music videos before they reach the public. And companies are starting to use this tool. For example, Procter & Gamble offered advance access to Pantene for its fans before the product was sold in stores.
  • Host a contest. The Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau hosts a contest on its Facebook page. People who like the page are entered into the contest and have a chance to win two tickets for a hot air balloon ride during the famous Balloon Festival. And Dunkin’ Donuts is using its contest not only to build its fan base, but to attract other fans. Contestants upload a video showing how much Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee means to them. Winners get a trip to Costa Rica or a year’s supply of the coffee delivered to their homes. The contest encourages Facebook users to like Dunkin’ Donuts, and the contestants encourage their friends to like the brand to be able to vote for their videos and win the contest.

Simply said, likes on Facebook encourage meaningful engagement with your brand. Just make sure you understand how to generate them appropriately.

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