Why social media strategy should NOT start with a drive for Facebook fans

Why does every social media strategy seemingly start with a company cajoling people to come “like” their Facebook page? This post will explain why that is usually a bad strategy if you are aiming at creating long-term, loyal customers.

I’ve been honored to be selected to help judge a global company’s internal social media competition.  Entries were submitted from all over the country as their locations put forward their best shots at social media gold.

There were some interesting entries, even some very good ones, but they all had one thing in common. In the “objectives” section, every  single organization stated something like this:

“Our goal is to enter the conversation with our customers and engage with them on our Facebook page.”

Last week I wrote about how our relationships with brands develop over time through many small interactions that create awareness, affection, trust, and eventually a loyal relationship … similar to the way we create friendships in real life.

When I was a kid, it took quite a few interactions at school or on the playground before I was invited to go home after school and play at a friend’s house.  And it would get kind of boring if my friend never came to my house. You expect that kind of reciprocity in a relationship, right?

The one thing missing in almost any social media strategy I see is a plan for company representatives to actually go spend some time at the customer’s “house” — 100 percent of the effort is usually aimed at the very difficult task of drawing those eyes to THEIR page, their home, every day instead of visiting customers where THEY “live.”

If the true goal is customer connection, why does it have to start on your own Facebook page?

Why is the metric for success always the number of comments or likes you have on your page, rather than the number of likes and comments your company gives away on other pages? Shouldn’t the effort be at least equal?

This default position of driving people to your page is easy because it is so much simpler measuring your “likes” and comments as a metric of success.  It’s the popular thing to do, but I’d like you to start questioning if it is the RIGHT thing to do for a long-term strategy.  Check out this diagram and see if this makes sense:

small social media interactions

Relationships start with small interactions — and you probably have to go to where your customers are at first.  As they get interested in you, maybe they will start coming to your site where they may connect in a bigger way, and eventually bring their friends as they turn into fans.

If you’re sincerely trying to drive people up this curve (and not just “check the Facebook box”), why would you have a strategy that only involves buying likes with coupons and contests?  Maybe you need to go visit their house a few times first and get to know them on their terms, too!

(Note: Based on some reader comments, I wanted to clarify that visiting a customer’s “house” may not necessarily be Facebook. It could be their blog, Twitter account, LinkedIn, etc. — it’s where they “spend their time” on the web).

Of course there are many different ways to be successful on the social web and lots of companies are doing great things on their Facebook pages, but I wanted to introduce the idea that it doesn’t necessarily have to start with a “drive for likes”

Have you had similar experiences? Do you ever connect with your customers on their home base Facebook page, blog, or LinkedIn account?

Top illustration courtesy of Toothpaste for Dinner

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  • RogierNoort

    Great post Mark, this is, for me at least, a very original and somewhat scary approach. But I like the idea, although I do not know at this point how to implement this…

    Do you mean we actually visit the (public?) timeline of our followers?
    And, do you have examples of businesses who put this into practice?

    Also, when you think about it.., it does make sense…

  • Mark,

    This is the entire secret… That graph is perfect.

    If you learn nothing else about social media it should be this simple content…

    thank you!

  • (Going to try to leave this comment again!)

    You explained this really well, Mark; thank-you!

    We repeat the same mantra to our WordPress-for-business customers: if you want to use social media to attract traffic to your website/blog and social media profiles, you need equal parts “social” and “media.” Simply broadcasting and publishing content that’s valuable to your audience isn’t enough — truth is, no one will notice at first, if they don’t notice YOU.

    Get off your own blog, Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, and Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles. Stop doing all the talking and start building relationships. Get out there and talk to members of your target audience wherever they are on those channels. Be kind, reach out, answer questions, comment, reply, “Like,” say hello, help them, and provide value to their lives wherever they are and however you can. In social media, nice guys finish first — or at least at the head of the pack!

  • AnnMAugustine

    Mark, I love your analogy of visiting the customer’s “house” a few times to get to know them on their terms. I remember the friends who came to visit at my home as a child as often as I visited them turned out to be lifelong friends. Cheers! – Ann

  • “What business problem are we trying to solve?” “What are the business objectives social can help us achieve?” Either of those two questions and I’m good. Too much shiny-object chasing.

  • Rogier, i do think this is a unique approach, but I am wholly surprised at that because it just seems fundamental to human nature. Yes, why wouldn’t we visit our customer’s sites and be human and helpful?

    I have built an entire business on social media connections and this was built only through a genuine and reciprocal interest in my customers. I think that can work to some degree for many businesses.

  • Thanks Ryan!

  • Amen. Nothing more to add to that great comment Michelle!

  • That’s what we aim for! : )

  • Richard Dacker

    Hi Mark, my first time here came via twitter post from Mark Clayson . I felt to comment upon your post relating to three reasons why people ask to like a fan page which is different of cause to a share. Now just my assessment not a Phd professor on the subject of Social SEO or Facebook Edge Rank , but basically that is the motivation why people ask others to like or share their content. Edge Rank is big on Facebook ..yes. Social SEO is more important than On Page or Off Page SEO …yes. Finally, direct response marketing..more often than not a marketer has to give clear directions of what action the facbook user has to take..i.e. like my page ..share my links. etc. I guess ever since fanpages were introduced the shift from a University social network was turned on its head. In saying that though you can bet a bottom dollar that if there are superficial friends on your facebook newsfeed and they dont like your marketing messages they will soon spill their guts to Facebook. More the point be careful who you friend. Just my thoughts. Gracias.

  • Well said Dave.

  • Welcome to the blog Richard and thanks for your comment. I think people are more likely to share you content if you simply make an honest effort to connect with them in a human way.

  • Spot on- just spot on…

  • Really great article. I am printing this one out to review the concepts with my clients. Should help them to understand more about why I look at the SOCIAL part more than the MEDIA part of the social media strategy.

  • Thanks friend.

  • Beautifully said Mindy. Glad this helped!

  • I’ll give you something more substantive… after running several Facebook pages for vastly different client bases, I can say that treating the the folks you want to reach online the way you want to be treated online is the best way to go.
    You don’t tend to remember the person in real life who just blathered on about themselves in a networking situation. Same thing online…

  • I think the problem stems from a flawed perception from business owners that Likes are everything. All proposals include “Getting more Likes” because otherwise the businesses will think that you’re not doing the right thing. The best thing to correct that is to educate them what Likes are and aren’t.

    To someone who doesn’t use social media much, the connection between fans and quality seems obvious. The more fans, the more people like it, thus the better the business. This type of thinking is further propagated by “social media agencies” that promote their services to get fans. Many of the Facebook pages of our clients get messages from “Facebook experts” who offer “get 500 new fans for $49.” To many owners, these snake oil salesmen seem like legitimate authorities, because people who actually know what they’re talking about won’t be mass messaging companies on FB pushing their services. Engagement is a lot more difficult and requires getting to know the business, so you can’t promote it as easily in a mass spam message.

  • Amen. That’s exactly what I teach in my classes.

  • 100% agree. I was just talking to a business today that was going to have their FB managed by an agency. They were giving terrible advice, but the lure of “likes” is intoxicating! Thanks Pavel!

  • excellent post Mark. It is all about engagement and developing a loyal and active user base. These super users can do wonders to your brand but you have to cultivate and build the authentic relationship first. Today for example, I received a tweet from a person I never met offering to get me 100 retweets. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go with such a deal except for the vanity reason of showing that you have a lot of retweets. However, the number of retweets or likes is meaningless unless it is coming from real engaged users.

  • I recently had a long discussion about how you can purchase “likes” just as you can purchase followers. It led to a fruitful discussion about what metrics to use and the importance of sustaining our efforts over time.

  • Sounds like gaming a Klout score? Who knows. Where corruption can occur, corruption WILL occur! Thanks for the great comment Abdallah!

  • Usually, there is far too much emphasis put on likes, usually due to a lack of understanding! Thanks Josh!

  • craigpsmith

    Nice post Mark. Relationship building is something that I preach to our clients and staff daily. Its all about listening for, identifying and communicating with the potential customer.

    There is nothing worse than when someone that doesn’t get social media thinks that community managers have some sort of special tactic that they can employ and get them thousands of likes and followers overnight.

    OK, I lied. There is one thing worse than that- The people that think that collecting likes and follows are digital marketing campaign goals. Ugh.

  • This makes sense conceptually, but what are some practical, tactical applications? If you’re acting as your page on Facebook, you can’t visit and comment on individual pages. Essentially a “like” is an indication that a Facebook user wants to receive your information in their feed. Versus just…. what? Have a brand start posting on their Wall? That’s creepy, right? So what, in practical terms, are you talking about here?

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  • Great post like always Mark!


  • Hi Mark, great article and we totally agree.

    Just wanted to share how we’ve used this strategy really successfully:

    We’re in B2B which has been harder to corral fans than B2C. However, it gives us the distinct advantage of being able to interact with other pages easier than we can with the pages of users. So, we often blog about other companies, and how much we love their unique marketing strategies. When we’re done, we post on our Facebook page, but we ALSO post on THEIR page too, linking to the article. We find that when we post on their page, publicly high-fiving them, we not only get likes and comments from them, but also from their followers too.

    Most of the “likes” we get come from these efforts, on the articles and on our page. 🙂

  • You do realize that you are not able to post on individual’s walls AS A BRAND on Facebook, right? Nor are you able to do so on Google+ unless “your fans” have put you in their circles first. It’s a great concept in theory, but in practice, well, it’s not too realistic. Nor practical in some cases. That’s A LOT of man hours if you want to even have a shot at scaling this.

    Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree with the idea behind this, but have you ever tried doing this as a business other than as the Mark Schaefer brand?

  • I work for a university, and we look at the main alumni Facebook page not as my house or your house, but as our house. I know it’s often different for educational institutions because constituents already have an emotional connection to us. But still, the for-profit brand pages I keep returning to tend to facilitate community (our house) activity rather than dictate (their house) it, and I appreciate them for it. For me, one of the more exciting phenomena afford by social media is the opportunity to build spaces collaboratively.

    Also: I hear a lot of folks saying that fan counts don’t matter, and of course, they’re not all that matters; they’re not even the most important consideration. But *fan counts do matter.* If you want to foster dynamic conversations reflecting multiple POVs, you’ve got to attract enough fans so that a meaningful number stand a chance of spotting your contributors’ content on the fly (especially once EdgeRank has had its way with it).

  • Too funny Craig. Thanks for the exceptional comment!

  • Well first, I never said “brands” should do any posting. Social media is not B2B or B2C. It’s P2P and even the biggest companies understand that. The people who are beacons for the brands are posting, not a logo.

    Second, a potential customer’s “home” is not necessarily Facebook. It could be a blog, LinkedIn, or Twitter account. One huge company I work with has every employee in its PR department “adopt” several important bloggers. They go visit them at their houses, their blogs, where the interactions are just as important — maybe more important — then when they come to see you.

    Let’s say you are into fashion. Wouldn’t you love it if the owner of an exclusive local shop started following you and interactig with you on Twitter? Knew you by name? Wouldn’t that eventually create enough interest that you would go visit her?

    There was a local pizza shop owner who was all over social media and making friends with hundreds of people in the community, connecting in many different ways. Because we became loyal to him as a person, we became loyal to his shop and drove out of our way to go there for pizza. I even visited his Facebook page — just because of him, not because of a coupon or deal.

    It would take a much longer post to get into this but I hope these are a few ideas that will make this clearer for you. Thanks for the great question. Who knows, it might turn into a blog post!

  • Thanks Matt.

  • I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear. When I said visit their house, I did not necessarily mean Facebook. I meant Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Quora, YouTube, whatever. Thanks for asking for clarity on that.

  • This is a great example Kelly and I’m so appreciative that you shared it. Like I said at the end, there are lots of exceptions and lots of organizations doing great things — like you. Thanks!

  • I think this is a good way of putting something that is pretty easy to overlook. You’d be seen as a boor at a party if you spent all the time talking about yourself, and yet that is what we (and I include my own amateur endeavours here) invariably do in social media. To continue the analogy, you would also be seen to be creepy if you started commenting on stuff that was deeply personal at the same party (ie need to be a bit careful about how you do the facebook thing).

    And to go even further, the party is made better for the conversations going on. Similarly, commenting on people’s blogs etc strengthens the overall discussion. That is exactly what we’ve seen here.

    I think the article is spot on, and the challenges raised underline the point that there is no single rule. A bit like friendships really…

  • RogierNoort

    Yeh, so I thought about it and of course we already do that. My wife is my biggest “client” and guinea pig and she seeks out and has conversations on Twitter all the time. For her, only time limits the amount of interaction.
    Yes.., this is good, I like it… no for my “corporate” client.

  • Hi Mark,

    I’m not sure I agree that sharing is a function of relationship depth. I think it’s much more about unexpectedness and resonance. I’m not any more likely to share something a close friend has uploaded just because they’re the one who did – I would however share something by a stranger if I love it. IMO sharing is more of an interest-graph than a social-graph thing. Oversimplified a little maybe!

    Also, while I agree that “gathering likes” is not a strategy, I would suggest that it is an investment. I would further suggest that “community social” as opposed to “listen/respond social”, “influencer social” etc. requires a critical mass of audience relative to market size to impact business metrics like leads, cost reduction, awareness etc. in a sustainable way.

    I thought your post was insightful and similar to this great video by Facebook http://bit.ly/M3UTtT. However, I’d love to hear your thoughts on more specific recommendations that might result from your idea!

    Cheers mate. W

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  • iancleary

    I think too many companies still think they need to be ‘on social media’. What they really should be thinking is that there is a great opportunity for building relationships online with customers that was never there before. There’s also a great opportunity to get referral business if people really like us!

    The question they should ask is how they build relationships with their current and potential customers. If every interaction online was about building relationships their attitude would change completely.

    Where is the best place to find people we can build relationships with
    How can I turn an interaction into a series of interactions that will help develop that relationship
    How can I build up more knowledge about my fans/followers likes/dislikes
    How can I develop that relationship further (visit their house, interact with them, exchange e-mails, have a skype chat)
    etc etc.

    Good thought provoking post! I think there’s still a lot of confusion about what Social Media is about and the amazing opportunity it presents so maybe we should come up with a different term!


  • The cool and amazing technologies that let us build a Web presence can be so distracting that we can easily begin to focus on ourselves and forget that the focus should be–can only be–on our customers, their needs, and their interests. Your post correctly redirects our attention: we must continually go out and look to our customers and potential customers to make sure that what we offer continues to meet their needs. We knew it–after all, isn’t that what got us into business in the first place? We can’t afford to forget it! Thanks for the reminder!

  • Excellent comment. I just see this being overlooked in such a pervasive way that I thought it was time to write something about it. So obvious yet so elusive.

  • GermanDolls

    Hi Mark, I am a small business owner. I have seen it over and over with my competition that the numbers of fans on FB DO matter. People really look at that and say: Hey, she must be a pretty good dollmaker because she has soooo many fans. There seems to be a fine balance here. Yes, people don’t want to see advertisements and coupons over and over again. Yes, my most loyal fans who comment daily are people who own my dolls and whose kids play with them daily. But without a huge fanbase I am being blown out of the water by my competition who have aggressively built their market for years by doing Giveaways of their Dolls. I am doing one right now to catch up with my competition. In the end numbers do matter.

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  • GermanDolls

    I have been following you on twitter since I found you mentioned in a book about tweeting. I have learned a lot from your articles and I thank you for them. Never had the courage to say anything. Just me a silly little mommyblogger.

  • Lindsey

    Couldn’t agree more. It’s a two way street, it takes time and it needs to be a carefully crafted conversation. Love your childhood playground analogy.

  • Every one of those questions would make a great blog post in its own right Ian! Well done!

  • … and that is really the way business has ALWAYS been conducted. We’ve too often let technology get in the way of common sense. Thanks!

  • Long time no comment, Mark. I’ve been sucked into never neverland, errr I mean instagram where I’m feeding my grandiose delusions that I’m a pro photographer… Although it has certainly increased my content creation but I digress. Your points are well made. Unless you’re already a household brand, sitting back waiting for likes, and more importantly ACTION, will prove futile. You’re so right about spending time in your customers “home.” It’s all about reciprocity, especially when starting out. As the old adage goes, the more you give the more you get! Hope all is well, Mark!

  • You bring up a superb point and that is the matter of “social proof” and you are absolutely correct. I write about this extensively in my book Return On Influence. In many cases, the numbers do matter even more than what you have accomplished in your life. So that is quite the enigma of life on the web.

    Having said that, my post was geared to all those strategies aimed at “engagement” which were obviously lop-sided and one way. But I do very much agree with you. There is a value to “likes” in this very strange web economy!

  • I’m really glad you had the courage to not only comment but to pose a dissenting opinion. Please come back and do it some more! I try to make everyone feel welcomed here.

  • Most of my best analogies come from childhood. I am a heavy user of Sesame Street examples : )

  • I am so delighted to see you back in the comment section!

    I wish I would have made this point in the original post — it’s a great one Tony. Established and beloved brands don’t necessarily have to network to the extent smaller businesses do. They’ve earned that through years of heavy advertising! Still, even the biggest brands “get it” and are doing remarkable things to humanize their brands.

    Thanks for the excellent comment and I’ll see you around Instagram!

  • I agree but I’ll take it one step further.

    Why do you REALLY need that Facebook page?

    Is that where you want to have that conversation and interaction? Are you really trying to ‘force’ people to only engage in that one venue? Wouldn’t it make more sense if the conversation happened on your own site?

    Comments and conversations are fragmented throughout the Internet and through a number of different screens (desktop, phones, tablets).

    Why make your Facebook Page the centerpiece when they’ve continually made it more and more difficult to get value from them. Why not actively work on optimizing your site for the open graph and including Action Links instead?

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  • I’ve always big a big proponent of reaching out of your own ‘house’ to visit others; it’s part of the investment in social so many businesses want to shortcut, the relationship building. Your house and theirs, push and pull – balance. Like others have said, FB (social) is a tool, a tactic – for achieving much bigger business results. So if your goals start and end there with Likes, Fans, Followers, chances are you’ll fail. FWIW.

  • Fantastic example Amanda! LOVE this!! A breath of fresh air : )

  • The issue of sharing is very complex and you hit on some very relevant issues. Absolutely the quality of the content matters. But there are also academic studies (cited in Return On Influence) about the propensity to share. In general people don;t share. The most successful influencers surround themselves with people who like them and have a pre-disposition to share. As I said, it is rather complicated but the short answer is i agree with you.

    I also agree with you that the numbers do matter, just like the number of sales leads versus sales calls versus conversions matter. Specifically in this post I was addressing the goal of “engagement” which seems to be plastered over every strategy these days with unrealistic views of what posting on Facebook will really do for you! : )

    Thanks for the absolutely superb comment!

  • Something to think about. It’s a perspective any way.

  • An interesting perspective. But in reality I think FB is the default mode for the foreseeable future! There is almost not rationality to it as a fear of being left behind has taken over. As I said, there are certainly legitimate great uses of Facebook No question. Thanks for the thought-provoking comment.

  • Personally, I think you are a real role model in this area Davina. And I’ll bet you can list some great business benefit and relationships that have come through your outreach. So glad you commented on this. Thanks!

  • Some really strong connections, you’re certainly one of them. Always feel on the cusp of seeing some bigger business benefits – just know that next great job, client is around the corner. Opportunities, growth and development, learning so much; stepping out of my own world to the bigger, social one has just made me better. Or at least, less dumber. 😉

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  • Really enjoyed reading this article, found it very original in this jungle of social media blogs. Thanks for the reminder on what this is all about. Admire your dedication to reply to every comment and found all of them almost as interesting as the article itself. Coudn’t resist to comment. Cheers!!

  • I’m not saying Facebook isn’t a viable platform. I just think the days of the Page being the focus are diminishing. I see more value in Open Graph optimization and creating a dialog about the brand rather than with the brand.

  • iancleary

    Hi Aj, I agree with you. I believe the interaction will happen through the open graph. I also believe that you’ll have the equivalent functionality of a facebook page accessible through your website so you won’t be sending people to facebook.com to access your page.

    Brands need to have a plan around open graph apps.

    Would a person sign up to an e-mail for a brand so they could send updates about the brand every day or nonsense about entertaining things etc etc. Nope. So why do they sign up to pages. Generally to get some offers or discounts not to have a relationship with the brand.


  • Jan Wong

    Yet another awesome post, Mark. I think many businesses think that being ‘engaged’ simply means ‘to be among the audience’. While that is half correct, they are totally missing out on what you’ve exactly said – to get your audience interested in you. Looks like I’ll be borrowing your analogy on visiting each other’s house quite often when explaining about this matter. Think you killed it on this one. All hail the one-armed blogger! 🙂

  • Know your customer and more important. Understand their needs. This cannot be achieved only by using Facebook.

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  • LOL! I do think there is a certain tipping point where things start to happen. It’s kind of like sales. You need to make a ton of contacts to start making sales calls and then you may need to make a ton of sales calls before you start making conversions. But over time, the Rolodex grows, you grow your reputation, and you become a better “closer.” I think the web works the same way. It takes time and patience to establish a reputation and trust among your audience so that they will start connecting with you in more meaningful ways, as I show in the chart above. It’s definitely worked that way for me.

  • @ajkohn This is an extremely interesting discussion but I will still stick with my view that RIGHT NOW companies are still irrationally obsessed with Facebook because they don’t know what else to do. We are years away from the more enlightened vision you set forth here — but that is what I love about this community. That’s what we SHOULD be talking about! Thanks gents.

  • So grateful you decided to comment Veronica. I appreciate that so much because I really don’t know who is out there unless they show up now and then! It really is a great blog community. To me, the comment section is like Christmas every day. So many wonderful gifts of people’s time and talent!

  • Viva the one-armed blogger! : )

    That means a lot Jan. It’s awesome that this post will help you in your business life. That made my day — thanks for letting me know!

  • Well who knows? Maybe it can. I have seen many businesses really kill it on Facebook and only Facebook. I’m not anti-Facebook. I’m anti-stupid. : ) Thanks so much for commenting Peter.

  • iancleary

    I certainly agree with that. Most companies are on Facebook because they feel they should be there and they have no idea if they are getting any real value from it. Most are probably just wasting their time because they just copy off other companies who are also getting no value from it!

    There’s change coming!


  • GermanDolls

    thanks, Mark! I will keep reading and learning here.

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  • I love this. I’ve had more than one instance where the knee-jerk social reaction is “we have to get a lot of Facebook likes.” There’s an overwhelming “If you build it they will come” mentality online. Going to the customer’s house is a great way to start. That is, of course, it’s done in a tactful way and not in a creepy, big-brother or spam-ish way. There has to be a value exchange of some sort.

  • Great advice Drew!

  • rossjwalker


    Great post. I think we could create a number of posts helping people relive those days in 1st grade and how they apply to social media. First time you eat lunch alone, first time on the playground, first time to the principals office… and on.

    So much of what we need to apply to social media has already been taught in those early years of school with our peers.

    Thanks for the great post.

  • I think you’re on to something there!

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  • Goes to the heart of why I don’t read almost any of the top 50 AdAge Blogs. I won’t read Godin or Solis or Mashable or Brogan etc etc. Why? Because everyone reads them. While I am glad they read Solis and Mashable who technically in my view mislead readers, even the smart ones if everyone takes their tips and employs them none have an advantage. If 200,000 marketers try an idea they read how will any stand out?

    Same goes for brands. They all want to talk to me and we have so little time to talk. Good luck and a Facebook page isn’t changing that. Especially with our feeds packed so we read so little of them (twitter to!). Be creative. Find me because I will not find you…..unless I am pissed at poor service or product then you are like a hockey goalie vs a relationship builder.

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  • RogerHoyt

    I can’t stress enough how important interaction is. I’ll admit, I haven’t been doing as much interaction on my own page. Guilty. Considering that I’m one of those people who gets frustrated at the whole “Like Bomb” theory and aspect, you’d think I would be a lot more active.

    I connect with people via Empire Avenue, the Social Stock Market. I tell people all the time, that Comments are worth more than Likes. You want to see your value in the Stock Market go up? It’s all about interaction. Like Bombing will only get you so far. If all you do is Like Bomb people, guess what, you’re only going to get Like Bombs back.

    Seems to me that people have forgotten what “Social” in Social Media stands for. We Humans need a certain level of interaction on a Daily basis. It’s no different online. There are people behind those Keyboards. And people wonder why certain people have really high scores on Klout and Empire Avenue. It’s because those people have built “communities” from the ground up. What’s the point of having a Like if they’re not talking?

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  • Thanks for the (always) thought-provoking opinions Howie.

  • Fantastic insight Roger. I have only dabbled in Empire Avenue. I really don’t have the time to do it well but it is quite interesting.

  • Roger

    Great Post Mark. But for the marketeer to ‘go’ to the customer’s house (in any form, size or shape), he needs to be able to identify these first. If that is not through the fact that they ‘like’ the brand’s page, then how else? Eitherways, the product from Dachis Group, Advocate Insight, serves a purpose here interms of identify the true advocates, reaching out to them, communicating with them and building a ‘relation’ with them. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Yay! I agree 100%. 🙂

  • This is such an important thread. My clients may be different from those you’re referring to, but I can tell you that while they have had “Get on Facebook” hammered into their brains, they are just as desperate to be excused from that party. I continue to hold fast to the idea that Facebook can and probably should be far down the priority list. Only after engaging more open social streams such as the great searchability of Twitter, and that only after creating a friendly, simple-to-engage blog-style domain. After all that, use FB to drive additional traffic. Which FB makes inherently difficult, just another reason to keep it at a distance.

  • I’ve been disappointed to see entrepreneurial friends in the tender new stages of engaging social media for their small businesses opt for a Facebook page, even over a blog for their website. There’s a huge problem with overwhelm before people even get involved enough to see how helpful and robust the social media world can be if used properly. Thanks for this discussion, it’s very helpful to have more clear insight to point to.

  • What a perfect example of what Facebook is so natural at. Why wouldn’t it be? This is how it began. And for businesses with some direct connection to that community, again, very natural word-of-mouth and peer-approved connection. Keep in mind, though, what is at the vital core of this kind of system. It’s an institution that is already robust. Many solopreneurs unwittingly try to create that from scratch, and that’s where the tragic waste of time shows up.

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  • Marijean

    I love this post — it’s exactly right. It is so frustrating to watch companies and brands being single-minded about a tool or fixating on a number as a measure of success.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more, Mark! I’m going to have everyone in my office read this and really make more of an effort to stop focusing all of our attention on doing all of the talking and instead, get back into building online “friendships” via interactions with our target audience and other members of our industry. Thanks for the reality check!

  • There are tons of ways to find customers “where they live.” One example — I list 25 ways to do that in The Tao of Twitter. Social media can turn us into lazy marketers. We still need to go to where our customers are. : )

  • Thanks Elaine.

  • Thanks for caring enough to comment.

  • Hurray for you. : ) Let me know how it goes!

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  • Wow… all the sudden the light bulb comes on and everything makes sense. I have worked with several brands that are concentrating on promoting there brand as a person, not the person as a person who is connected to the brand. Seems so obvious

  • Rid Francisco

    An interesting observation about FB. My concern, as the CIO of a small gourmet food company is that using social media can lead to unanticipated commentary- that is, not being able to control the comments working its way into our marketing/social message. Negative comments, spreading wildly throughout your FB audience, can overshadow your best efforts to establish a positive, strong and loyal customer base via social media. It’s all a matter of being careful of what you wish for…. craft your social strategy to minimize any potential negatives.

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  • Very informative, but what’s to be done when the Facebook page is not a business, but a place to drive people to for important information? The page posts have a lot more information than what can be put in a 140 character tweet.

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  • I totally agree with you. A valued fan that is sure to tell her friends about your page is one that you have courted and built trust with.

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  • Teddy Burriss

    Thanks for the Poke Mark – Spot on.

  • Susan S. Bradley

    Wow, Mark, you really nailed it! I manage several corporate social media accounts, and I can assure you that no one in business gets this. It’s all about metrically quantifying the time spent on each platform. Likes are seen as a measure of effectiveness. Relationship building is one person at a time, over time. And unless you are a movie star or other god-like entity, you must woo people on their own turf before you can hope that they will wander over to your page to take a look around. Thank you for the excellent article!

  • Susan S. Bradley

    Spot on, Michelle!

  • Susan S. Bradley

    Again, Mark, you nailed it! You are giving away the secret of building a real community around your brand. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes interest in other people. I like to say that the same skills that make a person popular in junior high apply on FaceBook and Twitter. Are you fun? Are you funny? Are you smart in a funny way? Do you know cool stuff? Are you warm? Are you positive? Are you charismatic? Are you memorable? Are you confident? Do you care just enough but not too much? Do you make others feel liked and appreciated? Do you share? Do you connect people?

  • Susan S. Bradley

    Justin, that’s a savvy technique. I used it to great success for a fortune 100 company.

  • Susan S. Bradley

    In managing Fortune 100 FB accounts, I’ve actand has been done with care, one person will make a negative commentldingually experienced the opposite of this. If your relationship bui

  • Thank Susan. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  • I believe it requires both really. Absolutely you do want to make those personal connections, but you also want to have a large audience for your daily posting.

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