Full disclosure: I “like” 256 brand pages on Facebook. Further disclosure: I actually don’t like how the majority of those 256 Pages are using Facebook. A cursory glance shows that many of these Pages haven’t posted a thing in several months, and many, many more haven’t posted an interesting thing in a much longer than that. So why am I participating in such massive apathy and fraud? Why am I acting like I care when I really don’t? Why am I doing a disservice to so many Social managers and brands? Indifference and laziness, mostly. But today, I quit, and I’m calling you to the carpet, too.
Facebook gives us three options when interacting with a Page. You can passively not like (or actively Unlike) a Page, you can Like it and send up another ‘whatevs’ into the universe, or you can choose to Get Notifications, which I refer to as “Love”. But let’s get real and decide that you really only have two options: Unlike or Love. Why? Because Liking a Page breaks the system; it’s a thumbs-middle, and a thumbs-middle is a vote of apathy. A Like says I’ll call you later, even though you won’t. A Like tells a Brand that you are on their side, even though you aren’t. A Like means nothing from you, does nothing for them, and is a worthless exchange of nothingness. Don’t exchange nothingness.
Understand what your “like” refers to
Yes, I get that you like Brand X. You buy the clothes or visit the restaurant or have a friend who works at the business. That’s awesome, and Brand X appreciates your purchases/visits/support in the real world. But on Facebook, it’s not about the brand; it’s about what the brand is doing on Social. My question to you is not whether or not you like Brand X; it’s whether or not you like Brand X’s Facebook Page and the work they are doing there. If “yes”, then choose Love; if “no”, then choose that lane and Unlike their Page.
The Consumer side argument
Do Brands want more Facebook fans? Absolutely! As long as every Social manager’s analytics are trending up-and-to-the-right, they’re happy. What does that mean? It means that the brand will continue to do as they are currently doing. Likes are votes, and as long as the votes are in support of the Page, the Page will continue to be what it is. If this is what you want, then choose Love. Choose to get notifications from those Pages, consume their content regularly, and engage with them when you feel inspired. Show your support with Love. But if you aren’t 100% happy with what you are receiving from a Page, let them know. Take a deep breath, and choose Unlike (it’s not irreversible). When a brand continues to see its audience shrink, it will change course, it will work harder, and it will ultimately be better for it. And you will receive less of what you don’t care about, so there’s that. Love and show support, or Unlike and move on. It’s how the consumer-brand relationship is supposed to work, so let’s do it right.
The Brand side argument
Yes, brands want more fans, but that is oversimplifying. What brands really want are more engaged fans, more happy fans, more tuned-in fans. If you are not on board and completely in support of a Facebook Page, disconnect from it. The upside for the brand is hearing from their audience; seeing votes that demand change or, at least some effort, is an important blip on their weekly report. Another upside is that the fewer apathetic Likes a brand has, the better chance it has to reach those who really do care. As we all know, Facebook can be a bit tight with Page reach, so do the brand a favor and get out of the way; stop taking up a spot, if you aren’t really interested. And if you are? Love that Page! It’s the best option for you and the best option for them. If you truly care about a brand, do it a favor and choose to see all of their content. Brands post to Facebook for a reason; don’t let an algorithm get between you and them. You can choose to see, or not see, what a brand is doing in Social, so make the choice.
It’s not a movement, it’s a choice
How many brands show up in your news feed every day? Better yet, how many non-sponsored, non-promoted updates do you get from your chosen brands in a week? I certainly don’t hear from all of my 256, and neither do you. Facebook is not set up for a Like to have any real impact, so don’t participate. If you truly, truly like a brand and how they use Social, then Love them. Choose to be an active participant, enjoy their Social channel, and make their presence matter. On the flip side, if you are in the ‘whatevs’ camp, disconnect.
There is no special hashtag for this and no certain day to get on board. This is not a call for a movement, nor is it a revolution meant to send a larger message. Instead, this is personal. This is a consumer and a brand advocate asking you to help fix the system. Visit your own Likes (prepared to be overwhelmed by what you see), and turn your apathy into action: https://www.facebook.com/search/me/pages-liked. The choices are not always easy, but at least actively make the choice. Turn your thumbs-middles into meaningful votes, and let brands know whether you support their Social efforts or not. In the end, it’s a win-win for both parties.
Do you agree that Love or Unlike are your only options? I could be convinced that Likes are important, so tell me why. I’d love to read your comments as I take a break from my 256-Page Unlike-or-Love challenge. What are your reasons for simply Liking a brand page?