Do We Really Need Likes?

Rohit Bhargava & Aaron Strout
Rohit Bhargava and Aaron Strout at SxSW

Friend, fellow Washingtonian and author Rohit Bhargava released his second book Likeonomics this month. Continuing a tradition of celebrating friends’ books on this blog, I’m giving away five copies of Likeonomics to the best answers/comments to this question posed by Rohit:

“The biggest question that I had to tackle in the book was this: Does likeability really matter that much? Isn’t the quality of a product, service or idea really the most important thing?”

Rohit’s answer to his own question was, “All the research I did in the book is that actually likeability is a prerequisite to trust, and sometimes it can even trump having a superior product or service. This doesn’t mean that likeability can compensate for having something that is crap. But often the difference between two products or services simply isn’t that extreme, and likeability is the secret weapon because people are the true differentiator.”

Facebook Ladder of Engagement

I personally see Likes as the first step in the sales funnel or ladder of engagement. Alone they really mean nothing. To me, counting Likes doesn’t represent an acceptable metric beyond a base attention metric.

Sorry, Klouties. A bunch of Likes does not make a paycheck.

That being said, Likes do have their value even if they mean nothing in the current cycle of marketing outcomes and ROI. Approaching stakeholders and encouraging them to take deeper actions requires acceptance of their current level of engagement activism, and well-crafted approaches towards deeper commitment.

The new cultivation cycle reinvents the traditional “funnel” approach to getting stakeholders to act. Instead of sending out messages and expecting results, brands need to participate in larger online social ecosystems where conversation hotbeds are already taking place. Facebook happens to be the biggest conversation hotbed on earth today.

So there’s my $.02. Now it’s your turn. You want to win a copy of Likeonomics? Then tell me what you think! I’ll let you know who wins on Friday morning.