I recently came across a discussion on LinkedIn that posed the question: “‘liking’ your own posts: acceptable behavior or not?” And what an interesting query! I’ve often wondered the same thing: what benefits are there to “liking” self-generated (SG) posts and is it tacky or ill-perceived in the eyes of the public? To gauge the sentiment surrounding this concern, I polled members of the Marketing Team at Blytheco and received some interesting responses. While most thought it was self-serving and even tawdry, some did believe that it was okay to like a self-generated post in order to encourage others to like it. None however, believed it was equal to spam or had the ability to completely destroy a company’s image – a concern that many brought up in the LinkedIn discussion.
Perhaps the most interesting response came from the boss man at Blytheco, company CEO, Stephen Blythe. Many in the original LinkedIn discussion were equating liking SG posts to dishonest self-promotion. This idea didn’t sit well with him, and I must say I feel the same way. Blythe relates liking [SG] posts as dishonest self-promotion to product placement in traditional media. He asks the question, “do you really believe actors and other celebrities are going home to use the products that they are paid to promote?” He’s probably right: what are the chances that the Apple MacBook ubiquitously used by Carrie Bradshaw is truly the property of Sarah Jessica Parker or that the $35 million a year-earning Beyonce Knowles really uses that $8 per box L’Oreal hair-color? If anything, this type of marketing is dishonest and misleading, but such is the accepted method in the world of consumer products.
I’m going to go a step further even and say that there’s nothing inherently dishonest about ‘liking’ anything – whether you created it or not. In fact, the act of liking something on Facebook or LinkedIn is one of the most transparent actions you can do in social media. When something is liked, it’s shared in your news feed [depending on your settings] for everyone to see. Regardless of your settings however, when you click that like button you are establishing a continuous ongoing relationship with that post/entity. As long as you like something, people have the ability to check that post and see your indicated preference. The issue lies not in honesty or truth, but more so in credibility. If you are liking everything you’ve posted, how are consumers supposed to place confidence in your brand or future posts? It damages credibility significantly.
So, does it make sense to like something you’ve posted?
The short answer is no. It is redundant, useless, and potentially detrimental to your company’s image. It is redundant in the sense that it is already accepted that you like what you’ve posted – otherwise, why share it in the first place; useless, because it doesn’t improve SEO (it doesn’t get shared further or become more prolific); and detrimental because many may be disgruntled with the blatant self-promotion. The latter particularly applies to retweets. Sure, if you retweet your Twitter post (tweet), the ubiquity of that post is increased and SEO is improved, but how does that look to viewers?
Liking or retweeting a post is the most direct form of promotion in the Digital Age. For an entity to do this to SG content just looks bad. Advertising has changed dramatically over the past few years and has migrated significantly from repetitive commercials and tv show product placements to social marketing whereas a product or brand relies more heavily on organic promotion. There is nothing remotely organic about self-promoting an item that you’ve already promoted.