Like Swaps – A Worthwhile Exercise?

August 26, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                  return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Facebook thumbs up and Twitter follow buttonsFacebook like swaps and Twitter mutual follow invitations often pop up on various social media platform threads.  Born of the desire to swell the number of likes and follows on our business pages, the strategy is simple enough.  You like my page and I’ll like yours.  While the numbers do rise, how effective is this popular strategy?

From where is the like swap invitation originating?

The first thing to consider when weighing whether to partake in like/follow swapping is the origination of the invitation.  It often originates generically; e.g., in a LinkedIn group specifically formed for that purpose.  Other times the invitation is extended through well established social media authorities who do so in a good natured gesture to help followers build their own pages. The value of like or follow swap invitations can vary widely depending on their sources, since their origination is a likely predictor of subsequent behavior after the likes and follows have been swapped.

Will the like continue to add real value to your page?

Facebook like thumbThe answer to this question depends on what happens after the Facebook likes or Twitter follows are exchanged.  Does all activity end there?  Or is an effort made to take an active interest in each other’s page, adding additional value in the form of post likes and comments?  This is where the real value is imparted.

Like/follow swap invitations that are extended by well known social media authorities tend to include folks who realize that adding ongoing value to each other’s pages is weighed much more favorably by ranking algorithms than just having a higher number of page likes/follows.  These folks take the time to follow up at least a couple of times a week, visiting the pages they have liked/followed to take advantage of engagement opportunities.  In return, most see the same effort expended on behalf of their own pages. 

Is like swapping worthwhile?

The answer to this question is yes…and no.  I would advise against joining generic groups unless you know the members engage with each other’s pages afterward.  I have tried a couple myself, with the stipulation that engagement should be as reciprocal as the like or follow itself.  In every case I ultimately left the group due to lack of any activity beyond the physical like/follow.

Twitter follow buttonIf you are interested in partaking, it is best to do so when invited by a reputable professional in the social media field.  Again, these folks tend to have followers who are better versed in how to maximize the benefits of this strategy.  Make a reference list of the pages you like and follow, and visit them throughout each week.  Look for opportunities to engage, and watch for reciprocal behavior on your own page.

Are you considering/already engaging in like/follow swapping?  Please share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section below!

Keeping the Social in Social Media

July 15, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                     return to JayVee Media Link LLC

100 dollar bill with twitter and facebook logos“How many Facebook fans will you promise me?”  “Can you get me 3,000 Twitter followers by next month?”  Questions like these illustrate two issues: 1. business owners who don’t understand how social media works; and 2. an invitation to be hoodwinked by the less ethical in the field.  Let’s examine the first issue in order to prevent falling for the second:

What do I want from my social media platforms?

Businesses maintain social media profiles for several reasons:

1. to build followings – Yes, numbers do matter.  But the way we build those numbers, and more importantly, the quality of those followers, matter more than the mere numbers.  Ask any business owner with a successful social media presence what he/she prefers: a large number of fans who are invisible on the page except for their places in the fan count; or a smaller number of fans who spend lots of time on the page, interacting, asking and answering questions and being brand advocates.  Hint: ranking systems take much more notice of page activity than of fan counts.  In fact, high fan counts with little or no activity can actually work against rankings.

face with x over mouth2. to foster client relationships – I shudder when I see business profile pages configured to prevent fans from posting to them.  That defeats the entire purpose of social media!  Businesses build loyal followings and strong referrals by interacting in a social manner with their clients and prospects.  That means more than just one way posting of news and product/service pitches.  Businesses that maintain consistent presences, actively listening, engaging in dialogues, welcoming and promptly addressing customer service issues show the online world how attentive and concerned they are for the satisfaction of their clients.  There is no purpose for having profiles if this activity is prevented.

I find most businesses that configure their pages to prevent interaction do so to avoid negative postings.  But dealing quickly with such issues turns negatives into huge positives.  Here’s another point to consider: there really isn’t a way to prevent irate folks from complaining about companies on the internet.  There are plenty of other outlets available for them to use. Wouldn’t it be better to have these folks bring their issues directly to those companies – where other fans can see them resolved quickly by business owners who really care for their clients?

3. to drive sales – Businesses ultimately maintain social media presences to achieve their unified goal:  driving sales.  The quickest way to stifle this goal is to broadcast constant pitches.  People use social media to be social, not to be sold to.  Hence, this goal is accomplished by sharing great value that benefits fans and followers, and again, by encouraging and participating in conversations, listening attentively and showing genuine concern for their satisfaction.  Getting to know prospects and clients in this manner yields the benefit of identifying their readiness to make purchases.  Messages and activities can be fine tuned to each level of preparedness.  All these undertakings unleash the power of social media to guide clients and prospects down sales funnels to successful transactions.

Gaming the system

Open trenchcoat with Wanna Buy a Like sign insideThe power of social media marketing is unleashed when it is done correctly.  Business owners who comprehend all that needs to be undertaken also understand the fact that it is a slow, steady process.  It takes much time and effort to build solid relationships that yield trust, loyalty and brand evangelism.  Anyone who comprehends these facts also realizes promises of 3,000 Twitter followers or 1,000 Facebook fans in one month are pure folly.  At best falling for these claims won’t improve business at all; at worst a sudden swell in numbers without accompanying interaction will work against the business’ page ranking.  It’s always best to remember the old adage “Slow and steady wins the race.”  Think marathon, not sprint.

person hawking bought likes is vanquishedAre you harnessing the true power of social media marketing?  Which best practices are you employing to build trust and loyalty among your fans and followers?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!