Facebook and Social Commerce: How to Get Them to Like You

Written by James GunterMay 4, 2011

In 1985, Sally Field won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for “Places in the Heart.” During her acceptance speech, she uttered the now famous lines, “You like me, right now, you like me!” Often quoted as, “You like me, you really like me!”, this has become an oft parodied line at award shows as well as on TV and in the movies. Today, the word “like” has taken on a whole new meaning. Not only can people “like” you (enjoy being in your company), but they can “like” what you say and do in social media. And the same is true for brands and companies.

Facebook has turned “like” into a verb that is associated with a very specific action—clicking a little thumbs-up sign to show that you endorse a website or brand, that you want to follow it, and share it with your friends. But as a brand, how do you get people to click that little button, and then how do you get them to keep clicking on it in order to stay engaged with your brand?

Partially, the answer has to do with simply having a well-designed website and marketing strategy, but it also requires some knowledge of very specific strategies to use in your Facebook marketing campaign.

Be Awesome

I’m not sure there is any other way to put it. Once you’ve installed a Facebook Like button on your website, the best way to get people to click it is to simply have a good product, great customer service, provide good information, and an easy-to-navigate web design. Essentially, you have to do all the things you would normally have to do as a company to get people to like you and give you repeat business.

Aside from simply have a great product and website, you can improve your chances of getting “liked” by posting regular, useful information on your site. For example, a company blog that focuses on readers instead of press releases might be a good start. If you can show your customers that you are constantly engaged with the wider world through a blog, they will be more likely to click your Like button. If you can become a resource for them about your specific area of expertise, they’ll keep coming back and want to follow your brand through Facebook.

Posting for Likes

Just because you’ve gotten them to click the Like button doesn’t mean your job is over; clicking Like is only the first step in a wider Facebook engagement strategy. Now it is up to you to pass useful information from your brand site (and from around the web) to your Facebook page, so your followers can continue engaging with you—creating strong brand ties and increasing the chances that they will pass your brand along to their friends.

Buddy Media recently posted the results of a study they conducted on the effectiveness of Facebook posts and suggested how the findings may help brands optimize their posts for better engagement and more Likes. Here are some quick tips:

1) The words you use in your Facebook updates matter. They found that Facebook status updates from companies that explicitly asked their followers to “like” the update generated more likes. As well, posts that asked followers to “comment,” “post,” or “tell us,” generated more comments than those that did not. So, if you want your followers to like you, just ask.

2) Keep it short. The study found that the vast majority of branded posts (more than 80%) were longer than 80 characters. However, posts that were shorter that 80 characters tended to generate more comments and likes—by 27%. To get more likes and to engage with more customers, make sure your posts are short and to the point.

3) Post the full URL. URL shorteners are great for passing along links through Twitter—where space is a premium. But, on Facebook, the length of a URL doesn’t matter. In fact, if you do it right, the URL doesn’t even appear in the text of the post at all. And follower engagement is 3x higher on shared links that kept the full URL intact. Full URLs generally tend to come with thumbnails, whereas shortened URLs do not. Perhaps a little picture is the tipping point to get followers to click your link. But whatever the case, avoid auto-posting shortened URLs to your Facebook feed, if you want continued engagement with your followers.

4) Post after hours. This may come a shock to some marketing managers, but while you are playing around on the internet, most other people are working. In fact, Facebook traffic (and Facebook brand engagement) spikes the highest in the early evening and late at night. If you want to get more people to “like” your updates and links, plan on timing them for release after-hours, when your followers have more time to pay attention and are more likely to engage with them.

They Like You

Sally Field was just happy that she had been recognized by her fellow actors and filmmakers, but when you can get customers to like you on Facebook, that little click can result in real-world dollars. The simple truth is that if you can engage your followers and keep them engaged with high-quality content—and optimize your posts for likability—you can create lasting relationships with your followers and build your image as a brand that people want to like.

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