The ‘Like’ Economy – What is it all about?

The Like Economy Social Media marketing is changing the way that people like brands. More and more, we are seeing people using Social Media as a key platform for communication and sharing experiences, and brands are starting to understand the value of building an online community and engaging with their consumers through social networks.

A while ago we featured a Thought Leadership piece about the perfect marriage between Social Media and Experiential Marketing, proving that they work best together. As a company which is always embracing real experiences, we understand the importance of integrating social experiences to engage conversations and to make the campaign work hard within the online world. Therefore, our question is: What does a ‘like’ actually mean to your brand? Does a ‘like’ turn into a sale? Are brands really engaging with people who ‘like’ their Facebook fan page?

To try and answer these questions, we have looked into many examples of Facebook fan pages and how brands are using this medium to communicate with their consumers. According to the marketer Rohit Bhargava, who is writing an upcoming book about the ‘Likeonomics’ theory, the key areas that can affect how brands are liked are related to honesty, simplicity and humanity. But how does it reflect on people’s common thinking?

There are many good examples of brands integrating Facebook ‘Likes’ into their strategies; engaging consumers into amusing social experiences or even rewarding their followers by celebrating the number of ‘Likes’. This is the case with Heineken, which celebrated one million ‘Likes’ with one million hugs. From an experiential point of view, it is great to see such examples of brand experiences being used to amplify the social media activity. This will certainly add more value to the social experience and offer a real experience that will be more likely to be shared with others.

Are you really valuing your ‘Likes’?

Social Media can allow direct access for brands to engage with consumers, providing a great network where consumers can share their personal experiences and get content and information on these branded communities. Beyond that, brands can have more control over the people they reach on social networks, allowing them to target consumers by demographics and personal interests.

Facebook fan pages are indeed one of the great tools to spread the word and to drive attention and interest to your brand. When building a fan page on Facebook, brands can lead and control the conversation and interaction with their followers. What you offer is what causes people to ‘Like’ your brand. However, the number of ‘Likes’ doesn’t mean that you are actually engaging with your consumers. According to the Likeonomics theory, in order to create an emotional connection with consumers, brands need to demonstrate the humanity and transparency behind their organisation. People need to feel that you are not just trying to sell your product, but your objective is to develop a relationship with them and open a new communication channel where they can get involved with your brand.

The number of ‘likes’ prove that consumers are paying attention to your brand; and every time a fan likes a post they are reaffirming their connection to your brand. The quality of content and conversations will also create more positivity around your brand. Therefore, to make your ‘Likes’ more valuable, you need to engage your followers into positive discussions and ensure that you are always prompt in answering their enquires in real time.

How can a ‘Like’ contribute to your ROI?

There are many tools that you can use to measure your social media activity, however, this will always be focused on quantity rather than the quality of your interactions. In a recent interview with Marketing Week, Bhargava argues that the true value of Likeonomics is more related to the business impact rather than the return on investment; brands need to engage their human side and honesty to create a good impact on consumers. Therefore, having more loyal customers who create a positive word of mouth for your brand is the key to making your brand stand out.

In order to measure the level of engagement with your followers, you need to know if you are accessing the full potential of your fan base. The amount of interactions, the number of ‘Likes’ on your status updates and posts on your wall can be taken into consideration when analysing if you are reaching your target audience in the right way. Facebook fans have proven valuable assets for brands; and the more connected your fans are, the more interest they will have in your brand.

There is no doubt that people are influenced greatly by what others share on social networks and what brands need to do is to inspire the word-of-mouth and create experiences that people can’t help sharing with others. The viral content that is shared through social networks is spread at high speed, but as Likeonomics theory suggest, real relationships are based on real interactions with added value, personality and humanity.


All this chatter ultimately leads us to the key question – will me liking this brand/page/event turn me into a customer? What do you think?


Hotcow is a multi-award winning brand engagement agency specialising in experiential marketing. Our mission is simple: to help brands understand the power of “experience-based marketing” and offer expertise in how to develop, plan and execute campaigns in the right way to get the right results. For more information or a free consultation contact us.

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