What are you ready to do for a pair of new glasses, for a movie ticket, for a romantic dinner, or for a new phone? As a social-media manager, I have to know these things so I can make more efficient viral campaigns. But what happens when an interesting idea for viral marketing transforms into mass spamming?
In countries like Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine, you may notice a new, not-so-great trend happening on social networks around various holidays. I like to call this trend: “Like me do”.
Holidays (Valentines Day, International Women’s Day, Easter, Summer, Christmas, etc) now seem to be the time of the year when companies try to improve their brand awareness on Facebook by organizing contests to see which user can get the most ‘likes’ (Eventhough Facebook does not approve of this). Unfortunately, this means–at a time of the year when Facebook users should be sending each other holiday greetings–private messages like “Congratulations,” and “Happy holidays!” have been replaced with “Like my picture!” and “Help me win a contest!”.
For those lucky enough to not have heard of these campaigns, here’s how it works: Companies solicit Facebook users to upload a picture of themselves to the company’s fan page, then the user whose photograph gets the most likes at the end of the contest wins some sort of prize. For example, this contest that’s put on by an eyeglasses company offers $1,000 and a photo-shoot session by one of Moldova’s top magazines to the girl with the most popular photo of herself in glasses. Another contest offers a free laptop for the most popular picture of a dragon. Users are then encouraged to tell their Facebook friends to vote for their entry by whatever means necessary.
In February alone, there were no less than five contests here in Moldova. On average, you could get five to seven private messages per week from Facebook friends who you don’t really know begging you to like their picture. This is not illegal, but is annoying and it kills creativity and fair play.
So why don’t I report/hide/ignore them, you might ask. Because this will not solve the problem. I could block 30 people, but this will not stop other people to sending spam. For me, it is OK to participate into a contest as long you promote yourself in a creative way. It is about the approach, not about the demand. That why if people take a stand and say it’s not cool to spam people, that will make participants think about another ways to get likes and win.
Already the first backlash against ” like me do” has taken shape in the Moldovan blogosphere. Nicolae Apostu and Alexandru Gurdila, two prominent Moldovan bloggers, wrote posts on the issue and showed how the need to win at any price can look from another perspective.
Other people post to their wall that if they see spam with “like me please” on their wall, news feed, or in private message, they will unfriend those people. My question is: it is worth it to lose your Facebook connections all for a free dinner? And that’s if you win! What about people who always participate but never get anything?
Have you noticed this trend on your social networks? If yes, what is your opinion regarding the topic?