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Like Me! Like Me! Like Me: When social media goes bad

Have you ever online dated, blind-dated or, heaven forefend (going into the dark ages here) read personal dating ads in newspapers? If so, maybe you were lured in by an enticing ad (“Tall, dark, handsome, athletic, outdoorsy…”) only to discover you were meeting Sasquatch or the captain of the women’s volleyball team.

No one likes to feel hoodwinked. No one enjoys the old bait–and–switch. And unfortunately, that’s what I experienced recently when clicking on a link in a travel newsletter. The ad promised that if I filled out a survey and clicked the link, I would be entered in a drawing to win a trip to Paris. Trés bon! But, not so fast, mon ami. Put down the beret. After I took the survey and clicked the link—voila—no, wait. I was swooped to their Facebook page and I could only be entered if I “Like” the travel site. So, they wasted my time with a promise that didn’t deliver. I feel cheated. I feel used. I feel, well, cheap to have been suckered in.

But, the bad thing is that I was a loyal reader of their magazine, enewsletter, blogs and posted articles before this occurred. I would have “Liked” them just because they were good. They did not need to trick me into liking them. And, actually they didn’t. Now I dis-like them.

Unfortunately, the forced “Like” seems to be a trend lately. I’ve seen it happen with more sites, and in all instances, I decidedly do not enjoy being manipulated or forced to “Like” to get the dangled carrot or to read more.

The Like demand is counter to the concept of social media—a community of people with similar interests who want to share those interests. It’s voluntary and should not be manipulative. To paraphrase Bonnie Raitt, “You can’t make me Like you, if I don’t.”

The demando–commando Like: it’s just bad, shortsighted marketing. As with any marketing tool, social media needs to be used wisely. It is a date with your audience. Don’t make a fool of yourself and don’t try to force them to like you. It just makes you look needy and unworthy. And, really, you’re better than that. Earn a real Like by shining at what you do best.

Next Issue:

Are you Franken-branding? Patchy plans produce unpredictable results

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