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A Like from the Grave
By: Mike Bush
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So, let’s get this straight.
First, Facebook (appears to) begin stifling the number of people who see your updates in an effort to get people to pay to promote their posts. Now, the company is seemingly pumping up the number of folks who “Like” a brand page, by either simply guessing that you might like a brand, or by having folks who have passed away “like” brands (warning, there’s a bit of NSFW language in the link to ReadWrite).  
Seriously…people are “liking” McDonald's from the grave.
But why?

Brilliant Social Scientist Dan Zarrella (@DanZarrella) has created a formula to identify the value of a like on Facebook. Here’s a link to the explanation of how and why it works, along with a link to a super-simple-to-use Value of a Like calculator.
What’s interesting to me is that in using the formula, only changing the number of people who like a page doesn’t actually change the value of a like.
So, if we believe Dan’s theory and formula, why is Facebook artificially inflating the number of “Likes” a brand has?
Get your tinfoil hats ready, because I have two conspiracy theories on the issue:
1. Brands are pushing for the “Cool Factor,” as defined by the following equation: “more likes = we’re cooler.” The problem here, of course, is that having someone “like” you when they don’t actually like you can lead to some awkward discussions (in the ReadWrite piece linked above, there’s a mention of a vegetarian who somehow ended up liking McDonald's, and found it to be offensive).
2. Facebook is competing with traditional media for ad dollars, and doing so on traditional media metrics, like Cost Per Thousand. And if brands are using the “Promote my post” option, having more “likes” lowers that cost.
Regardless, this seems like dirty marketing. And while Facebook has recently changed their privacy settings (again), I must have missed the options for “only like brands I actually like” and “please don’t like things for me from the grave.”

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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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