Being right about something is not always fun. When horrible diseases and other events come into play, people lead with emotion and not logic. But there is a business lesson here for any brand thinking of jumping on the failing “Like Us And We Will Donate To This Charity” train.
A troubling trend in business and social media are the brands that are trying to guilt people into getting them more Facebook fans. Recently, one of my favorite local news stations has been doing just this.
The formula is simple; you donate a relatively small amount of money to a charity that pulls at the heartstrings, but then make the amount that you give up to your current Facebook fans generating new fans for you. This brand told the audience that for every new like on their Facebook fan page in 24 hours, they will give 50 cents to this charity, up to the $2,000 mark. If the campaign works it gives you 4,000+ new Facebook fans.
It looks great on paper in the marketing department, 4,000 new Facebook fans in 24 hours. So what exactly is the problem?
The problem is that you are using guilt to get new Facebook Fans and these people don’t really care about your brand. You are also treating your current Facebook fans like mindless minions who you believe will do whatever you tell them to do.
By looking at the responses on this post, maybe you are right. Maybe your audience is mindless.
I realize why people are upset here; it is because Cancer is such an emotional topic, and especially Cancer in children. Who doesn’t want to see money raised for fighting Cancer? My problem is with the way this news organization handled it. They could have donated the money and helped raise even more. They could have easily donated the 2K to this charity without using guilt.
Here is how brands that respect their Facebook fans would have done it.
… We just donated $2,000 to Kisses for Kyle, a wonderful organization dedicated to helping children with cancer and their families who reside in the Delaware Valley region. You can also donate to this cause here www.kissesforkyle.org Share this update if you want to encourage your friends to donate to this great cause.
This status update is concise and causes less confusion because you are urging to share and not to like. (The word LIKE still confuses many in social media because you can both like a page and a status.) This post would have both spread the word about this charity and had your Facebook fan page reached by a ton of new people who most likely would have liked your page. Not because you were telling them to, but because they respected what you were doing.
A lot of people just liked the status update and thought that they had contributed to this cause. They were confused, including our “friend” Trina.
They got a decent amount of shares from their original post, and they most likely resulted in a lot of new likes to the page. However, how much traction for their Facebook fan page (clearly what they were interested in) and how many additional dollars raised by the community for this cause did they just leave on the table?
When building a community, you do not just want anyone you can trick into following your brand to follow you. These brands are continuing to pump up their social numbers at any cost because they think that down the road they are going to be able to flip those numbers (YOU) to their advertisers. They believe that they will be able to blast you with promotional status ads in the future. They still don’t understand that in social networking, the USER has all of the power. When these brands continue to treat social networking like old mediums (radio, TV, print, billboards, etc.) they will fail.
Why else would this news organization run a TV ad around this “Like Us And We Will Donate” campaign. I predict as we all use social more and more, there will be great backlash against these “Like Us And We Will Donate” campaigns.