Like you on Facebook? Follow you on Twitter? Probably not. Here's why.

I see it all the time and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves in the world of marketing. Well-meaning brands place a social media icon somewhere on a printed surface (or television screen) in hopes of getting lots of new Likes or Follows.

Plenty of marketing pros have bemoaned the fact that this call to action lacks any incentive for the customer and have encouraged us to tell folks why we they should Like or Follow us. That’s good, but it doesn’t even begin to address my gripe with this method.

I grew up in the 80s, back before the internet and social media. Old school marketers had to rely on "traditional" media to get their message to the masses—radio, television, newspapers, magazines, phone books, etc. Things have changed a lot. Ironically, they also remain the same in significant ways.

For example, can you imagine any marketing professional—old or new—creating an ad like this:

Can you imagine a radio spot ever concluding with “Call today! We’re in the Yellow Pages!”

See where I’m going with this? In the same way that we would never even consider putting a phone icon on a flyer instead of a phone number—DUH!—why on earth would we ask customers to hunt for the way to connect with us online by only acknowledging that we are on Facebook or Twitter but not telling them where they can find us?

And while it is true that search gets better every day, in reality, it still isn’t perfect. I use Facebook’s Graph Search every single day, and there are—believe it or not—still days when I type in the name of a Page I manage and it does not show up in my search results. Seriously. Pages I manage. Pages I access every single day.

I can't really explain it—I’m not that knowledgeable—but I do know it is an unnecessary risk to make a potential new customer have to search for our brands online. I'd rather be user-friendly at every possible interaction. As consumers, we are notoriously lazy. Consequently, as brand managers, shouldn’t we make it as easy as possible for consumers to Like and Follow us online?

So the next time you get ready to promote your social activities through a traditional medium, don’t just put an icon on the page and tell me to Like you. That’s like handing me a map and saying “Come see me. I’m in the city!” Instead, tell me exactly where I can find you in that massive online world.
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About Eric Wilbanks

Brand strategist. Wordsmith. Change architect. Training specialist. DiSC Certified. Family guy (hot wife and 4 cool kids). Love my Bible, guitars, baseball, and MMA.


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