Don’t fall blindly in love with your likes

Burger KingBurger King Norway recently did the opposite of what the rest of us like to do on Facebook. Instead of getting more ‘likes’ for their page, they got rid of two-thirds of their fans. Why would they do that?

They were not happy with the interactions on their page. Most of their ‘fans’ were only hanging around for freebies or a chance to sound off. The page was serving little purpose, except to claim that Burger King Norway had lots of followers – and that to them was of dubious value.

So they decided to junk the page and start a new one. Here’s where they had a brainwave. Anybody who opted out of following the new page was offered a Big Mac from their rival McDonald’s.

‘Whoa! Why not?’ was how more than two-thirds of Burger King’s ‘fans’ reacted and promptly left. This was a huge hit in ‘popularity’, of course, but from Burger King’s point of view, it was also ‘good riddance’. They knew that the ones who remained on their new page were mostly those who were genuinely interested.

This is something we tend to overlook in our obsession over more and more ‘likes’ and ‘hits’. Is the number of friends more important or the nature of the friendship? The answer may well be somewhere in between, or in this election season, ‘none of the above’. What’s vital, though, is not to lose track of the main purpose, which is to engage the audience with your brand and message. Whether people agree or disagree, like or dislike, the most important thing is the level of the engagement.

Facebook-Like-ButtonThis is not to say visibility is not important. Burger King could afford to lose two-thirds of their followers and still have enough people to engage with on their page. Many others may not have that luxury. But even in a quest to reach out to a wider audience, the depth of the engagement should always be kept in mind. If both of those work in tandem, then we will end up with not only more friends but of the sort with whom we can have meaningful interaction.

There are enough hacks and bots around to give you as many likes and hits as you want, and you can even con a lot of people into believing you are popular. But without deeper engagement, this house of cards will be shaky.