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Just one mouse-click

Why do marketers like Facebook so much? Because they can pretend that they’ve got user-brand-engagement.

Facebook’s “Like” button essentially simulates engagement in just about the simplest and most superficial way possible. The user clicks “Like”, and ten minutes later has probably forgotten all about it. That’s just one mouse-click’s worth of engagement, which results in a tally being permanently increased.

Tell me you’ve got one hundred thousand or one million (or even one billion) Facebook Likes, and I’m not impressed. People generally click on the Like button because the infinitesimal effort of doing so is just barely outweighed by their scant interest. It’s ranks even lower in engagement than a click on a banner ad that doesn’t result in a conversion.

The other button is “Share”. Spam your friends and family, most of whom feel they have no right to complain – or if they do … well, they aren’t going to defriend you anyway, because Facebook maps your circumstantial encounter history independent of your personal attitudes, in the majority of cases.

That’s one of the reasons I like Twitter. If someone doesn’t like my tweets, there’s no sense of obligation to be following me, and they can stop doing so. Likewise, if I’m feeling that someone I’m following is being spammy (or boring), I can hit the Unfollow button. Problem solved. Guilt-free. No obligation.

In any case, we’re talking about setting up a situation where you offer the user the opportunity to make just one mouse-click, and you can pretend that’s engagement.

Contrast this with a presence in a virtual environment like Second Life. You’ve got to put up something interesting. You have to find ways to make people come to you. You have to be there when they turn up, and engage them as individuals. It’s like having a booth at CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) … without the actual CES to give you a captive audience.

That’s actual work and requires that you’ve got the chops to handle it. It is where the marketing rubber hits the road, where you have to coordinate your marketing across multiple forms of media both in the virtual environment and beyond, and where it’s provable whether you really know what you’re doing or not.

Or, you know, you can just set up a fan-page on Facebook and head to the pub early.

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Categories: Marketing, Social Media.

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