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Why I believe the Page Like is completely dead

Last week I was in lovely New Ulm, Minn., presenting to a small group on Facebook advertising. You can find the full deck here, if you’re interested.

As I prepped for this presentation, I was refreshing myself with a few clients I’ve worked with in the last 2-3 years, and the Facebook ad campaigns associated with those clients.

FB You Lose

One thing they all had in common: Building the SIZE of their Facebook community by acquiring “Page Likes.”

But, then I got to thinking. Does the Page Like even matter anymore?

And I came to the (somewhat) surprising conclusion: No, it doesn’t.

Here’s the thinking.

In the “old” days of Facebook, your approach usually looked something like this:

* Build your page by acquiring “page likes”–typically you’d have to pay for these through Facebook advertising.

* Since organic reach hadn’t completely plummeted, you could post content and those existing fans (the ones you attracted via FB ads) would see that content.

* And, if there was a post you really wanted ALL your existing fans to see, you amplified it with a little promoted post.

That strategy worked. I saw it work first-hand with a few different clients.

But then, Facebook started changing the rules.

First, organic reach started to plummet.

Then, you started seeing more brands paying to promote content. Some even went as far as to say Facebook was now ONLY an advertising platform (and you know what, they’re RIGHT!).

At the same time, Facebook expanded its ad options, so you could promote posts to fans outside your existing fans.

So, rules kinda changed. Landscape changed.

And now, I would argue, the Facebook Page Like is dead.

You don’t need it anymore. It’s a complete vanity metric. And, some could argue it’s been a vanity metric for a while now.

Let me walk you through my thinking.

Let’s say you’re a midsized business with a page of 30,000 page likes. Not a huge community, but not a small one either.

Let’s say your goals with Facebook are to raise awareness for your brand and to drive traffic to your corporate web site (fairly common goals, I would say).

I would argue you can achieve both those goals now WITHOUT acquiring more Page Likes.

You could easily still drive awareness by running a number of Facebook page post ads each week targeting your key customers using Facebook sophisticated ad platform. Target by age. Zip code. Interests. You can do this no matter if you have 10 page likes or 1.5 million. No difference, as far as I can tell.

You could easily still drive traffic to your web site by running ads against posts that include links to your site. You could use promoted posts (and target fans outside your existing fans) or run page link ads, which are typically successful in driving traffic. Again, you could do this if you have 10 page likes or 1.5 million. No difference.

OK, so why do we need the page likes?

Good question. Vanity, maybe? From what I’ve observed over the last year, that seems to be a possible reason.

Some are merely infatuated with the page like, and haven’t kept up on what’s happened with Facebook.

For others, it’s a competitive thing. Our chief competitor has 1,00,000 likes–we have to get 1,000,001 likes!

I don’t get it, but I think that’s largely what’s to blame.

But, brands will wise up. And I believe they’ll wise up soon.

Because folks, let’s face it, the Facebook page like is officially dead.

There, I said it.


photo credit: JeepersMedia via photopin cc

Giving thanks and feeling awfully grateful

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently: That monster, cancer, is seeping into my life more and more.

My family member is fighting a losing battle. I’m watching, along with many others here in the Twin Cities, as Aaron Purmort fights his battle (his wife’s blog is a wonderfully sad recount of what’s happened, and is happening). And, a friend of my wife’s recently lost his life to this unrelenting beast.

To date, I’ve been extremely lucky. Until this past year, my life really hasn’t been touched by cancer (note: The photo below has absolutely nothing to do with the intro to this post–I just happen to enjoy this particular pic I found on PhotoPin.com).


But, that’s also been a big realization–I’ve been really, really lucky.

Over the course of the last year, I’ve had the chance to:

* Watch my son win a “city championship” in soccer (which sounds a lot more impressive than it really is–but it was so much fun to watch)

* Watch my brother get married at our favorite place on earth (St. John)–and getting to share that memory with my wife, kids and my extended family. Incredible memory (which also included a sunset groom’s dinner cruise).

* Visit my parents in Palm Springs where they “winter” each year–something we’ve almost taken for granted.

* Visit my father-in-law and his extended family at a beach house in Destin for a week in June. Also, our first family road trip, which was crazy, maddening (at times) and at the same time, wonderful.

* Walk my kids to school each and every day, as I have for the last five years.

* Attend a Gopher football game with my daughter–a now annual tradition for us each fall.

* Help my daughter as she broke her arm a few months ago. It’s weird to say I’m “thankful” for that, but it’s these little thing that you remember most about parenting.

* Speaking of little things, watching my son make a 60-foot basketball shot a the school playground. Seems weird, I know, but his reaction (jumping in my arms giving me the biggest bear hug he’s ever given me) made it a top three moment for us this year (and maybe, really, his life).

* Spend more time with my wife on Saturday nights (“date night”) thanks to my mother-in-law and parents who continue to watch our kids, when asked (which, over the years, has been a HUGE blessing–can’t even put a price tag on this).

I have PLENTY to be thankful for. And, I know I’ve been lucky. And, like Al Pacino said in “Any Given Sunday”, I know I’m getting close to the point in life where things will be taken from me.

I get it. I know. And, I find myself more grateful than ever before.

So, as we sit on the eve of Thanksgiving, I give thanks to the incredible network of people around me, including (more specifically):

* My wife and two kids–without them, nothing even makes sense.

* My parents, brother, sister-in-law and extended family.

* My clients in 2014: Sarah Panus, Sarah Reckard and Kellie Due Weiland at Sleep Number; Kendra Klemme and Emily Rinde at Starkey; Heidi McGuire at Thermo King; Chad Mitchell at Walmart; Jason Tanzman at Cycles for Change; and Dan Ness at UCare.

* My fellow MIMA board members: Nathan Eide, Jill Gutterman, Jeff Sauer, Ryan Arnholt, Derrick Shields, Lauren Melcher, Jamie Plesser, Holly Spaeth, Joe Rider, Kat Duncan, Jonny Thompson, and most of all, Lindsi Gish, for inviting me to be a part of MIMA.

* Our MIMA marketing committee volunteers: David Jungers, Andy Whisney, Martha McCarthy, Erica Hanna, Jamie Kvamme, Mike Shimshock, Kait Cox, Abbie Yarger, Calley Carbonneau, Lyndsey Danberry, Ryan Splawski, Ashley Tramm, Dan Bonebright and Lindsey Heffern.

* My fellow Winona State University Alumni board members.

* My fellow Bolder Options marketing committee members.

* Heidi Mastrud, who’s been a great partner at Bolder Options.

* Ann McDonald and Heather Kosik who help run the Winona State University Alumni Board.

* And a special thanks to Dr. Tom Grier and Betsy Anderson for giving me the opportunity to reconnect with WSU and UST students each year.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

photo credit: Freaktography via photopin cc

Revamp your content strategy by following these 9 content cornerstones

Last week, I gave a presentation to 300-plus folks on a Cision/Vocus webinar around content strategy. It was a similar presentation to the one I gave at the Fort Worth PRSA meeting in October (I shortened and updated the deck with a bunch of new examples and case studies).

As part of that presentation, I had a section dubbed “Content Cornerstones”, where I suggested 9 tips to consider when creating online content on behalf of your brand or client. I set these up with a  “Don’t do this–do this instead” context, which allowed me to actually show you what I believe some brands are doing wrong. And, consequently, what others are doing right.

Take a peek at these 9 content cornerstones and let me know if you might have any to add:

Don’t mimic what other brands are doing:

Doesn’t this post from Reese’s look familiar?

Reeses FB

#1: Instead: Stay true to your mission, values and brand voice.

Sleep Number (client) stays on brand with most of its posts. Its mission: To provide personalized sleep experiences. Most content the brand creates syncs up with that mission quite well.

Sleep Number 2


Don’t play off popular social memes:

Sure these kinds of posts get a lot of RTs and favorites, but toward what end?

Pizza Hut meme

#2: Instead: Create content your customers will fine useful–and entertaining

Love this series of resources from Intelligentsia (one of my favorite coffees). Extremely helpful for the DIY coffee geek.

Intelligentsia content


Don’t: Promote meaningless holidays

How many times have we seen brands “celebrate” ridiculous holidays like “National Better Breakfast Month?”

Mattress Firm ex

#3: Instead: Amplify your customers’ best content

Side benefit: Building community by highlighting your customers’ best stuff.



Don’t: Try to become the next Oreo

Please, God. I’m begging you.

Oreo Tweet


#4: Instead: Focus on content that builds pride

Think about most of the people that follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social network. Chances are, they’re already a fan. Why not just play to that pride factor a bit?



Don’t: Promote your products/services TOO much

Go ahead, promote. Just don’t do it too much. Even Facebook is coming down on brands for over-promoting now…

Mercedez FB


#5: Instead: Inspire your customers through video and audio

Not every brand can produce a video like this (one of my faves from this year), but think about what kind of video you CAN produce that will inspire and solicit emotions in your customers.


Don’t: Talk about events only you care about

Really. Very few people cares.

Fairview FB

#6: Instead: Tell rich, meaningful stories about the people who make up your company

I’ve blogged about Microsoft Stories before, but I’m a big fan. Love the way they tell employee stories here (see Kevin White at left here).

Microsoft Stories 1


Don’t: Be too cute–resist that urge.

Denny’s is hardly the only “offender” here…

Dennys Twitter


#7: Instead: Be a resource and build trust and affinity with customers

Sure, Hilton suggests its own hotels from time to time in this feed. But I’d say 90 percent of the time they’re merely suggesting the best restaurants, routes and activities in locales around the world.

Hilton Suggests Twitter


Don’t: Focus on creating “compelling content.”

Really? REALLY?

Academy Awards Tweets 3


#8: Instead: Focus on creating compelling headlines!

It’s all about the headline. Without a great headline, no one will read your content. My thought: Create 5 headlines for every post you develop–better way to get to the BEST headline.


Don’t: Focus on short-form content exclusively

When you focus on short-form content exclusively, this is what happens…

Academy Awards Tweets 1

#9: Instead: Create long-form content that can be broken apart into smaller pieces

One piece of long-form content can last for months when broken apart into smaller chunks. With Bike Walk Move, my partners (Mod & Co.) and I broke this large infographic into many Facebook posts, ads and posters we used for months afterward.

BWM ex 1


BWM ex 2

Twin Cities PR This Week – Nov. 21

I’m writing to you today from lovely New Ulm, Minn., where I spoke to a group of 40-or-so marketers and PR folks about Facebook ads. I’ll have the prezo up later today, if you’re interested (right after I make a pit stop at the Schell’s Brewery!).

However, you’re not here to here about my life–you’re here to learn about what’s happening in the Twin Cities PR scene! Here’s the latest job changes, promotions, events, new account wins and award wins in Twin Cities PR in the last week:

Fenced In, Part 3


It’s official: Aaron Miller, who’s been playing a lead role in social/digital over at General Mills since 2011, is heading back to Target. Congats, Aaron!

Lauren Fischer, who worked in social/digital at the American Academy of Neurology, recently took a job as social media community specialist at Medtronic.

Chris Bevolo, principal at Interval–a marketing health care agency–for the last 19 years, recently merged his firm with Nashville-based ReviveHealth.



Craig Key was recently promoted to director of media at space150. Also: Love the “insert buzzwords” line in his LinkedIn profile…



Anytime Fitness is seeking a blog content manager–nice opportunity to work with Andy Giefer and a growing brand.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota is seeking a communications and advocacy consultant.



Congrats to my former boss, Nicki Gibbs, as she celebrates 9 years at Beehive PR in November.

PRSA is holding its annual holiday party on Monday, December 8 at Pinstripes in Edina (I’ll be there!).

Huge congrats to the gang at Fast Horse (including friends Mike Keliher, Cydney Strommen and Scott Broberg) on winning a coveted WOMMA award for the agency’s work on Newcastle.

The Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association will be holding its annual holiday party on Wednesday, December 17. More info on the site very soon.

Talking Points Podcast: An interview with David Jungers and Erin Vande Steeg from the Mall of America

The holiday shopping season is officially upon us–so Kevin and I thought we’d go right to the source this week: Mall of America!

In this episode of the Talking Points Podcast, we interview David Jungers and Erin Vande Steeg, the social media brains behind MOA’s social efforts. We talk about career paths, working with retailer at America’s largest shopping mall, and what big plans MOA has in store for Black Friday and Dec. (big tease!).

MOA TP Podcast

Take a listen…

SHOW NOTES – November 20, 2014

Mall of America


Mall of America reveals blizzard, boyband, Nickelodeon plans for Thanksgiving sales


David Jungers


Erin Vande Steegw