The Value Is Not In The Likes – It’s In The Testimony

As we work smarter in the social space – – whether it’s using our social assets to create actionable impact for our advertising partners, or increase revenue for our own brands, it’s important to pay attention to a recent study conducted by Harvard Business Review.

While many brands have gotten savvier over the years with social – “Likes” (how many people have liked your Facebook page) remains this gauge for success.

People sell “Likes” as value.

And HBR just shut it down.

HBR recently carried out 16 experiments to understand the value of “Likes” and how they correlate to consumer spending/interest in our products.

Among the 18K people that participated, the results were clear:

“The mere act of liking a Facebook page does not affect a customer’s behavior or lead to increased purchasing.”

Translation: The amount of “likes” does not equate to brand usage.

But there were specific tactics that did stand out in this study when wanting to activate fans to purchase. When brands used or seeded:

  • Positive fan testimonials
  • Paid influencer endorsements
  • Meaningful third-party partnerships

This study is fuel for anyone that wants to understand how to monetize our social assets in a meaningful way.

Just because we have “likes” doesn’t mean a thing.

And that explains why substandard #ad posts thrown on Facebook fail.

There’s a trust factor that is required on social for any type of conversion to take place.

Here are two examples of what that trust factor looks like.

Westwood One and Cumulus have begun working together to tap radio talent as social influencers for national clients’ local activation.

ACME ‘hired’ WPLJ/New York – Morning Show Co-Host, Annie, to demo their product and the results were as good as any non-paid post:

Advance Auto Parts is another brand believing in local talent to influence their social following:

The audience doesn’t care if it’s an ad if the message feels real.

Hiring social influencers is a trend that more and more clients are asking about.

It would serve everyone well to embrace it because clients are doing this with or without you.

So let’s be the experts. Always follow the key elements to successful product placement:

  • Be true to the brand voice and the talent image
  • Client cannot be too demanding with the messaging
  • Product must look as it is in its ‘natural habitat’
  • Feels seamless from the audience point of view

We have a storied past of doing great endorsements on-air. Take that experience and make your social communication as lively.
Social offers the ability to build symbiotic relationships that lead to familiarity and better engagement with our advertising partners. But it all comes down to how we exert our influence first.

Reach out to me anytime on Twitter  @lorilewis.

Lori Lewis

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