Facebook: Only Fools Fall in Love with Likes

By on December 11, 2012

 There was no shortage of shiny objects flying around the social sphere this year. But new icons aside, the fixation with little blue thumbs up persists. Everyone wants to know, “What is the value of a Like?”

 Let’s ask an expert.

Social media expert Jay Baer suggests there’s little you can do with a Like. In fact, Baer has published an eBook titled Knockout! Use Conversation Mining + Facebook Data to Thump Your Competition He’s set the expectation that data extracted from Facebook is indeed a powerful marketing tool.

But “what data?”

Thumbs down on Likes.

In “Knockout,” Baer debunks two common assumption regarding Facebook:

  1. Facebook is a customer acquisition vehicle.
  2. Fan page activity equates to fan engagement.

Baer claims both are false and far less valuable than the “conversation layer.” His point, distilled to its most simple expression: the world is made up of people, not numbers. In the eBook, he makes a compelling case that capturing qualitative data is the key to informing an effective content marketing strategy.

 What you really need to understand.

“Getting content and social media marketing right,” Baer states, “requires you to look beyond the accumulation numbers to understand not just how many, but what, why, how and when.” He reminds us the goal is not to be good at social media, but to be good at business.

The challenge then becomes taking a holistic approach, to extract from social media the indicators that support your marketing strategy. A nifty “social media metrics pyramid” visualizes the concept. The pyramid places business objectives at its apex and social media metrics seven layers below, at its base.


Measure what fans really mean.

Jay writes, “The best social media operations look at measurement more broadly. They don’t just look at the numbers; they also capture key qualitative data and use it to make improvements to their content, channel selection, timing, and more.”
Facebook Insights are simply numbers and the marketer’s mission to understand what does and doesn’t work in social media marketing relies far more on finding answers to “why,” “so what” and “now what” questions.


Conversation mining is a goldmine for content marketers.

The “Knockout” eBook is co-sponsored by NetBase, developers of a social intelligence platform global enterprises including Coca-Cola, Kraft, and HP use to monitor and understand customer sentiment. As business intelligence goes, sentiment analysis marks a new frontier. However, there’s nothing new about its reason for being. The objective is to make better decisions.

Effectively mining social media conversation results in powerful insights for guiding and improving your content marketing. Baer highlights four ways you can use Facebook sentiment measures to thump your competitors:

  • Conversation mining delivers an early warning system for issues enabling you to be more proactive.
  • You gain the ability to make fast course corrections for your promotions.
  • Customer commentary gives you the ability to improve products or packaging.
  • You get cues regarding how to better relate to your customers.

The point here, and in Knockout,” is if social media is to become a competition thumper in your marketing arsenal, “Likes” and the like don’t add up to much. True business intelligence, the kind that suggests or solidifies engagement and advocacy, isn’t about little blue thumbs. It’s about the passions that pulse through the hearts and minds of people.

Given the right tools, the people whose needs you most want to fulfill are telling you how. You gotta’ love that.

Barry FeldmanAbout the Author: Barry Feldman

Barry Feldman creates compelling content by telling stories. He's a freelance copywriter, creative director, content marketing consultant, and an alright guy. He specializes in persuasion and engagement and has authored the eBook "21 Pointers to Sharpen Your Website" to help improve your online marketing. If you would like a piece of his mind, visit Feldman Creative and his blog, The Point.



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