When I stop to think about it, I find that the music I listen to, the shops I frequent, the restaurants I go to, the websites I read, the shows I watch and the things I buy are very frequently a result of recommendations from friends. I’m certainly not alone; these days, people are increasingly turning to those around them when making decisions about what to consume. But there’s one recommendation that doesn’t carry much weight with me, and it’s on Facebook:
“So-and-so likes Business ACME.”
A lot of effort is being spent these days on getting people to click that “Like” button for brands on Facebook. People are promised all sorts of things for “liking” a brand – exclusive coupons, special freebies, entry into a contest or charitable donations to the local Shelter For Homeless Yet Adorable Kittens & Puppies. And since these efforts have started to become so common, when I see that one of my friends has “Liked” something on Facebook, I think to (admittedly cynical) myself,
“Do they really?”
And even if they actually do like that business, so what? They clicked a button. It doesn’t really tell me much.
However, if someone takes the time to put in their own words what they like about that business, I’m all ears. If my friend posts a positive review about them, I’ll not only read it, I’ll almost certainly give them a try at some point. And when people ask me the best place to go, I’ll tell them the places that I’ve tried that my friends recommended to me.
It’s not that hard to get a lot of “Likes” on Facebook, especially if you’re giving people incentives. But if brands really want people to give over their money, they need to figure out how to get individuals – and their friends- to recommend brands in their own words, and that’s trickier. People are busy, and constructing coherent praise for a brand or business takes time and is easy to forget about. So how can you make this happen?
1. Make it easy. Instead of a suggestion box, what if you had a computer set up next to the exit where people could tell you what they thought? You could take the (nice) comments and post them on your Facebook page, and that user might go check your page out the next time they’re online to see if their comment made it up there. Then they could easily share the comment with their friends.
2. Make it worth it. Instead of exchanging “Likes” for entry into a contest, why not have a contest where you challenge your fans to write a haiku about what they like about your brand? It’s more fun, more engaging, and both sides are really interacting with each other and building a relationship instead of just clicking a button.
3. Have the best service. Your product is important, yes. But if the people selling that product give horrible service, buyers won’t care if they’re selling gold bars for a nickel each. A great way to reinforce your commitment to service is by contacting the people who say nice things about your business, thank them for doing so, and then let them know that if they ever need anything, you’re there. Chances are, you’ve just turned a good reviewer into an evangelist.
4. Simplify their life. How does your product or business make someone’s life better? How can you make it easier for people to get? What can you do to take up only the amount of time they’re willing to give you – or less? If I leave a transaction marveling at how easy it was, I’ll be thinking next about who I can tell about it.
Getting “Liked” is all well and good, but getting liked enough to be raved about is a goldmine. Instead of getting a button clicked, you’d be wise to try getting a conversation started.
Product Manager, MediaMind Global Publisher Unit