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    Saturday
    Sep082012

    The 11th Commandment: Like Us on Facebook

    I have to admit to an addiction: I watch endless reruns of Law and Order on TNT. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I pop on the TV and watch and episode or two. I can watch the first ten minutes or the last ten, or twenty random minutes in the middle, any day of the week. (If you want this post to feel more like the show, click here to play the famous Law and Order "Doink Doink" sounder)This addiction comes with a price, besides sleep deprivation: I must watch lots of promos for TNT's other shows. They've done an excellent job of creating its own original series, various crime and action shows. The promos are creative and the network, giving it the unique identity it had been lacking for decades. 

    At the end of many of these promos is an invitation--no; a command: "Like Us on Facebook!" It was an order. Maybe it was a threat, implying something awful would happen to the lead character on the show if I refused to comply. "Like Us on Facebook...or else!"

    While I have no particular interest in the show "Perception," I did not want to upset the universe's delicate balance between fictional TV and reality, so I complied. The show has a robust Facebook page with more than 40,000 likes, a decent, but hardly overwhelming following. By comparison, Barack Obama has 28 million likes (Mitt Romney has 6 million...sorry, Republicans...I'm just reporting the facts here).

    Back to "Perception." The page posts are mostly to promote upcoming episodes, a good way to drive viewers to the show. There are also quite a few references to puzzles, which, I assume, have some relation to the program. Generally, less than one-half of one percent of the page's followers Like these posts and about a tenth of one percent post comments. Not great. Not awful. Not terribly influential.

    Here's my objection/point: why do you command us to do things instead of asking us? How many times have you used the famous cliche, "Give us a call today?" Besides the fact that I object to the very notion that I can "give" anyone a phone call, as if it were a gift (can you imagine someone uttering the command, "Give me a gift!"), it's rude; yet advertisers do it all the time. Of course, they know they're being rude, hence following that cliched phrase with another old chestnut: "you'll be glad you did!" Not only are you commanding me to call, you're ordering me to enjoy it, too. Like mom hovering over her uncooperative child at the dinner table. "You're gonna eat all your vegetables and you're gonna like it, too!!"

    You can't command anyone to engage with your social media. You can invite, incentivize, engage, converse, or entertain your prospects, but you can't force them to eat their vegetables. With so many posts per second whizzing by one everyone's smartphones, the value of your content is more critical than ever. Not the value of your product or the worthiness of the eventual purchase, but the value of the prospect's interaction with the content itself. When someone chooses to Like or Follow you, they have an expectation. The burden of satisfying that expection is always on the marketer.

    In today's upside down world, the commandments--and the choices-- belong to the customer. It's time for marketers to be more polite. Next time, invite me to like your page. In the meantime, let me finish watching this episode of Law and Order in peace! Doink-Doink!

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