Inspiration is the new currency for Facebook likes

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The Facebook marketing free ride is over (in case you haven’t heard), and brands are scrambling to find a free way to interact with potential clients. So what is the new currency for Facebook likes?

When thinking of an insurance company, a college or a temp agency, most people don’t look to be inspired. And yet, on Facebook, that is what many companies are doing to reach their customers and continue to thrive as the social media giant continues to evolve.

Does it work? Will it continue to? Yes and not for long.

When Facebook was still going through its growing pains, building its user base and designing functionalities, it was a fantastic place for a company to tout their wares. Once a user liked their page, they became a captive audience. It was a place where businesses could showcase products, talk about sales and recruit new customers by urging their followers to share the page with their friends and so on – and it started to clog up the newsfeed.

So in the past few years, Facebook has begun to change and modify the way users see news and information in their feeds and organic reach suffered, naturally. Facebook unveiled an algorithm designed to help populate users’ News Feeds with topics and information relevant to their likes and interests.

The algorithm examined how a user interacted with the items on their newsfeed and extrapolated what similar items could be brought in to meet those interests. And while this all made sense for end users – it ticked off brands, which (for some unknown reason) expected they would always have free and unrestricted access to said captive audience.

So rather than paying to promote posts and reach their target audience, many went the way of chumming the News Feed with highly clickable content – like infographics or images that may or may not have anything to do with their brand (like kittens, the rulers of the Internet).

Infographics were at least useful and were probably most effective when it came to brands creating engagement with their page, which would in turn lead to new likes, new shares and (the golden ring) greater reach.

But as all fads go, the time of the infographic has faded and the resulting likes and growth have dissipated as well. So what are companies doing now to pull in the interest of Facebook users and getting them to share and like a page?

#Inspiration

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So what does that quote have to do with finding a job? Really, not a thing. However, what it DOES do is catch the eye of a Facebook user who may be having a down day, or who just needs some inspiring words to perk themselves up. And what does that user do when those words create a positive feeling? They click on that “like” button, or perhaps they share it on their own feed so that others can benefit from it.

And the company? They benefit because their post has gotten engagement. It’s created a reaction, which is then noted by the Facebook algorithm (which, as you likely know, takes into account the last 50 actions taken by a user in determining what should appear on that user’s News Feed).

Why are these so popular? Perhaps Facebook users are looking for signs and portents in the items that come down their News Feed. Something to make them feel good and smile. This symbiotic relationship seems to be working for many companies who have adopted the strategy, even adding the #motivation or #inspiration to their posts as a way of increasing that reach through aggregators and hashtag searches.

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Regardless, as a means of getting around the restrictions set up by Facebook, the results for the businesses who have adopted this strategy are nothing less than . . . inspiring. At least for now. The businesses may have won this round, but – like infographics – audiences will eventually tire of this tactic.

Have you noticed the prevalence of inspirational quotes on Facebook lately? And do you feed the monster by clicking and sharing them?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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