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									You Like Me! Building Your Brand with Facebook Likes
By Mary M. Flory

At one point or another, everybody wants to be the popular kid in school. To be liked by his
peers (even those in other grades!), to have the most friends, to be invited to the right parties, to
have his accomplishments recognized.

This yearning for acceptance doesn t fade with age, it just changes shape. It becomes less
important when it comes to frivolous matters, but the business of being liked never becomes
passé, especially for companies trying to keep or steal a competitive advantage in their

The number of likes on a company s Facebook page is the modern-day equivalent of the
number of birthday parties you re invited to in the 6th grade. But it goes far beyond that when
a consumer likes a company, that s step No. 1 of brand engagement, and a clear indication to
the company that said consumer is ready, willing and able to interact with its particular brand.

Senior-level executives need to recognize the importance of brand engagement via social
media it is the all-important stepping stone for brand engagement platforms going forward.
Consumers want to have relationships with brands they use, like and respect, explains Sally
Falkow, APR, social media and digital PR strategist at Pasadena, CA-based Meritus Media.

 You re building a community around your brand with Facebook likes, she says, connecting
stakeholders across the board (i.e., suppliers, consumers, journalists, etc.). In fact, out of the
latest Fortune 500 and Inc. 100 lists, Falkow says that 85 percent of those companies listed are
active on Facebook.

A recent survey conducted by Webs reported that more than 77 percent of small business
owners plan to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2011, as compared to 2010.
Facebook was indicated as the respondents favorite social media tool, with 68 percent
reporting that the social network is the one they use the most regularly.

All companies want to build a supportive and loyal customer base, Falkow says a customer
base that will defend, stand by and even forgive when needed. So it s in a company s best
interest to embrace the social media population that has already embraced its brand. After all,
Falkow points out, It s harder and more expensive to target a new [customer base] than it is to
just keep up the old one.

A lot of companies think the best way to generate buzz on Facebook is to offer promotions for
consumers, i.e., Like us and we ll enter you in a contest to win an iPod. Not so, says Falkow.
 In many cases, they don t like your company; they like your coupon/promotion.

 Content. Content. Content, Falkow says, is what it comes down to. The way to get consumers
to truly like your company on Facebook is to give them content that they want, need, that
entertains them or that makes them feel smart. It s all about your content. Do they like what
you re doing? It s really just about whether or not they actually like you.

Falkow s team is really strong on the idea of social media intelligence and using that to plan a
strategy. She follows these 10 steps:

1. Listen to the Online Conversation

2. Establish Your Share of Voice

3. Set Goals and Benchmarks

4. Find Bloggers and Relevant Communities

5. Identify Online Influencers

6. Develop a Content Strategy

7. Pick your Social Media Tools

8. Create and Deliver Content

9. Engage and facilitate Conversations

10. Measure Results and ROI

Mary M. Flory is the AMA s Manager, Magazines and E-Newsletters. Continue the conversation
about Facebook marketing strategies in the Interactive Group in AMAConnect , the AMA s
online community.


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