Begging for Likes and Retweets: Don’t be sleezy

“LIKE our page!”

“RT this if you LIKE us!”

“Do you LIKE awesome photos?”

“If you RT us, we’ll RT you!”

“Help us get to 1,000 followers.  Please RT this!”

“We need to get to 5,000 likes by Saturday – share this with your friends and help us out!”

I just threw up a little bit out of sheer annoyance after typing all of those out.  Unfortunately, those are actual examples that I’ve pulled straight from a couple different brand Facebook pages and Twitter handles.   What’s even more crazy are the countless articles, blogs, and “best practices” floating about that claim this is a solid strategy for your social media presence and engagement success.

All I have to say is this – if your brand social strategy is centered around either a number goal of fans/followers or begging people to engage with your content…you’re doing it wrong.

In the current social sphere, people want to talk to real people, hear from real people, and interact with real people.  They don’t want to be talked at by a brand.  So, if you are acting as a brand, you might as well start by talking like a real person with an authentic voice.  Social media isn’t your old fashioned marketing strategy, so your voice and tactics shouldn’t pretend to be.  It just won’t work.

And even the huge focus on fans and followers is a thing of the past.  If you are a start-up that has 57 fans then sure, you might want to set a reasonable number goal to get off the ground.  That’s a different situation.  If you aren’t talking with anyone, then what’s the point?  However, if you are an established brand, why do you care so much about a number?  You can go buy that number and then what?  Have them unfollow you a month later or never engage with your content?  Most won’t even see your content in their newsfeed now.  Yeah, thanks for that, Facebook.

I still do think there are situations or strategies where promoting certain pieces of content or messages can serve a valid purpose.  You will most likely gain fans along with this promotion, but they’re joining you based on the content your promoted.   They were attracted and took an action.  That’s an effect of the promoted content, but fan growth wasn’t the goal.  My problem is with a straight-up fan gaining spend.  No content.  Just buying fans.  That just feels a bit dirty to me.

And yes, I have done the whole incorporating the word “Like” into a post thing to make it clear that I wanted likes on the piece of content.   I felt sleezy.   It just felt fake.  I did this roughly a year ago as a “let’s see how this works” trial.  Nothing wrong with trial and error.  That’s a HUGE part of social media.  But, if it just doesn’t feel right, and you would hate it if you were a fan seeing it from a brand, then it’s probably not the right way to go.  Go with your gut.  Don’t be sleezy.  Don’t beg.

If you are begging for engagement or numbers, you’re doing it wrong.  Let your content do that for you organically, naturally, from people that actually do enjoy what you’re putting out there.  That’s where your true engagement should come from.   And I know it’s easier said than done.  You don’t just have great content overnight.  It can take a while with a lot of planning, strategy, resources, and distribution.  But, when you do get there, that’s when you and your fan-base will click.

Seriously, that wasn’t a “click” pun.

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