The Thing About Facebook And Brands

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What should a brand do on Facebook?

That question above… the one about brands on Facebook… yesterday, I got that asked that question three times. Yesterday. The pressure that brands feel to make connections on Facebook is tremendous. They’re reading about all kinds of data about over a billion connected people and the power that Facebook yields in terms of keeping people engaged and using the channel. The numbers are truly staggering. There is no question about it: brands really do need some kind of formal and iterative Facebook strategy.

Is Facebook too big to ignore?

Ignoring Facebook is a mistake. Harnessing it to extend the brand narrative is a major task for the vast majority of brands. It entails a strategy that has true metrics attached to it and one that can be nurtured over time. The challenge (as I see it) is that brands use it as an extension to their traditional and mass marketing initiatives. In such, we have what can only be described as an "arm’s race" for likes on Facebook.

Here’s the thing…

When I get asked what a brand should do on Facebook, the real question I hear (by, actually, reading between the lines) is "how can I get a whole lot of those billion-plus people to like our brand… or, at least, like our brand more than our competitors?" So, the short answer is this: instead of figuring out how to get more people to like your brand on Facebook, why don’t you get your brand to start liking more people on Facebook?

The end of media narcissism.

The average person on Facebook has 120- 200 connections (depending on who you ask… and when). As big as Facebook is, it’s actually many, many, very small circles of close (and semi-close) connections. For a brand to truly penetrate that inner circle, they have do a whole lot more than create interesting content. Brands have to actually like their followers. The truth is that I’m not sure exactly what this means and, it well mean something different to each and every brand. What I am very sure of is this: Facebook and brands is less about advertising and much more about creating, nurturing and developing a more direct relationship between individuals and the brands that serve them. This isn’t for all brands. This isn’t for all consumers. This is (still) a massive opportunity for those that can rise above a traditional advertising strategy. So, the next time someone brings up Facebook in your marketing meetings, start here…

"Instead of asking our consumers to like us on Facebook, why don’t we start liking them?"

Now, let me know how the conversation goes…


  1. I’ve been having these discussions for a couple of years now – even chatted a bit about it with you at a conference way back…
    Doesn’t it all come back to simple, good old fashioned and personal *customer service*?
    Where you take time to actually listen to what your customers are telling you, and try to improve what you provide them according to their needs, instead of yours (the eternal bottom line)? Of course you do need a great product/service in the first place.
    Having thousands of fans on Facebook is quite meaningless if all you’re thinking about is having bigger numbers than your competition.

  2. It’s great to see it laid out like this, and something that I think we all ponder with from time to time. It really is just as basic as good customer service as Michael says… it doesn’t have to be complicated.

  3. Good post. I do think the brands that have tunnel vision on the “arms race” like you said are missing the whole point. I’d rather have 200 fans that I regularly interact with than 20,000 fans who don’t interact with anything I post. Sometimes it feels like that position is the minority.

  4. there is a difference between liking your customers, and in fb parlance “LIKING” your customers…a commercial page cannot like a follower, unless it is another commercial page.
    if what you mean is simply liking and listening to customers….of course as said previously, good ol’ customer sevice

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