Lust for Likes: Brands Battle to be Noticed on Facebook

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Fitting snugly somewhere between cat hoarders and Beanie Baby collectors are marketers hell bent on gathering “Likes” for their clients’ Facebook fan-pages. Discovery Networks happily boasted yesterday about the number of likes its channel receives. Spokespeople for the channel say Discovery has 25 million Facebook likes, which it earned the old fashioned way – by people legitimately liking the brand.

The channel is bragging a little because most brands are using a baiting system to earn likes: “Like” our company and you’ll unlock amazing content is the pitch. But some brands are going to even greater lengths to get likes. This week, we’ve already seen brands throw the social media marketing gauntlet down all in the name of likes – and it wasn’t pretty.

The latest casualty in the “likes” war is Oreos. Everybody’s favorite black and white cookie got the filling beat out them by rapper Lil Wayne yesterday when they tried to set a Guinness World Record. Oreo was a simple cookie with a simple goal: to achieve the most Facebook likes in 24 hours. The company had enlisted the help of the folks from Guinness, who were keeping tabs on the likes as Nabisco had registered the challenge to keep things legit. Within the first four hours, Oreo’s special post on its fan page had collected nearly 60,000 likes. Things seemed to be going swimmingly for the cookie. But little did Nabisco know that over on Lil Wayne’s Facebook page, a challenge was already underway.

Lil Wayne rallied his fans to crush Oreo by coming up with more likes. The oft-imprisoned hip hop star racked up more than 200,000 thumbs-up in about an hour. Oreo is still claiming victory, however, as Lil Wayne’s challenge was not registered with Guinness. Wayne’s people say he’s the winner here as his number proves the star’s powerful digital presence.

But the real winner here is Facebook pages and the power of “likes” . Marketers are desperately trying to unlock the magic of “likes” and to figure out how to speak to the billions of potential fans on Facebook. So let’s turn it over to you, brilliant readers. Do Facebook “likes” equal branding power? Tell us below! (P.S. We’re on Facebook, too. If you “like” us, we’ll send you a cookie and a Lil Wayne download. Not really. But we will “like” you back and be eternally grateful.)

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