Netiquette and the Facebook Like Ladder

Let’s pause for just a moment on this day two of my blogging challenge to talk about a little netiquette and the phenomenon of the Facebook (or Twitter, or whatever) “like ladder.”

I just thought this photo was hilarious for our purposes.
I just thought this photo was hilarious for our purposes.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a like ladder refers to a post that starts out something like:

Hey! I’d love to follow all of you guys here on Facebook! If you like my page, I’ll like you back!

Or, as is more often the case with something like a blog challenge:

Share your facebook fan pages in this post once so that we can all connect.

And then everybody comments, leaving a link to their Facebook page, and you do too, and in theory you’re supposed to go through and like everybody else’s page and they’ll like yours.  Tit for tat.

But there are two things that can happen at this point.

  • First of all, unless the entire community is made up your ideal reader, you’re going to end up with some people liking you (maybe lots of people) who don’t really give a flying zucchini about anything you have to say.  They’re going to inflate your numbers but not increase your reach. <–That’s an important distinction.
  • Second, if you follow the rules, you’re probably going to clutter up your own news feed by liking pages that you don’t give a flying zucchini about, which helps neither you nor them.

Now, I’m not totally opposed to like ladders.  In the right circumstances, they can be very useful.  If, for example, the community really IS made up of mostly your ideal readers, then it’s totally to your benefit to participate.  If you’re looking to get a certain number of likes on your page to unlock a feature on Facebook, that’s also a good reason to do it.

Just remember that there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.  This is the wrong way:

Inevitably, if I participate in one of these things—or even just when I join a community like the Ultimate Blog Challenge community—I end up getting a private message that says something like this:

Hi! I’m your newest follower from the XYZ Community. Would love for you to come by and like my page!

Urgh…

No.  Just.  No.

I don’t mean to get all Emily Post up in here, but does anyone else feel like this just comes across as desperate?  Most of the time, these aren’t even personalized in any way, so you know the person is just going down the list, copying and pasting.  And I have to sigh at the waste of effort.

It would be like being introduced to someone at a party, and having them immediately say, “Hey! I shook your hand! Why don’t you take me out to dinner or buy me a present?”

It just doesn’t WORK like that.

Is it rude of me not to like that person back?  Maybe it is.  But here’s the thing: If I am actually interested in their page, I’ll like it.  If I’m not, I feel like I’m doing us both a favor by not cluttering up both our lives unnecessarily.

Do you agree?  Let me know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney via Compfight cc and http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Facebook_like_thumb.png

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13 thoughts on “Netiquette and the Facebook Like Ladder

  1. I'm personally not a fan of facebook like ladders and I don't believe for a second that they are helpful to grow my business.

    1. Hi Brian,
      I can appreciate that and am sure many people feel that way. I find that like ladders help new people with the thing called "social proof"- which does help business. It is just a reality that no matter how great a biz might be- if they have a new fan page with less than a few hundred likes (a brand new page)- it just doesn't look great- that is why I am happy to help people who are starting out with their pages.Warmest, Sheri Kaye Hoff

  2. Aye, yes the challenge *like fest* is on. I honestly just go through and *like* the pages I think I might be interested in. And it’s usually connected to blogs that I have read and enjoyed in the first place. So, in other words, I actually have to like something to like its fan page on Facebook. What a concept, eh!

    I’m also someone who probably under promotes my own page because I don’t like the idea of seeming desperate or spammy.

    1. I think it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution if you’re afraid of being spammy! Those likes you do get will be genuine and more valuable.

  3. Thanks for putting this out for us! I totally agree…having big numbers just for the sake of numbers causes too much clutter. I know people who are driven to have thousands of Twitter followers–one even boasts of over 500k! I want to say “so what?”
    I often suffer from social media fatigue and go through to unsubscribe from some notificaitons. Following your advice would keep the clutter down so I wouldn’t have to spend my valuable time that way!
    Great info!

  4. I like when I am part of a group- and there is a link for everyone to post their pages- I usually don't like every page- mostly the ones that I am interested in… if someone messages me politely and says something that they like about my page and service- and then asks for a like in return… I probably will like their page- I devote almost zero time to being irritated over social media… I mostly appreciate it and I find that the ones who seem to not know the etiquette are newbies- and I feel tolerant for people learning something new.

  5. I like when I am part of a group- and there is a link for everyone to post their pages- I usually don't like every page- mostly the ones that I am interested in… if someone messages me politely and says something that they like about my page and service- and then asks for a like in return… I probably will like their page- I devote almost zero time to being irritated over social media… I mostly appreciate it and I find that the ones who seem to not know the etiquette are newbies- and I feel tolerant for people learning something new.

  6. Love what you have to say and I completely agree. There has to be a reason for me to like your page and vice versa. Keep up the great work. 🙂 And no, you don't have to go and like my page. LOL Cheers! 🙂

  7. Love what you have to say and I completely agree. There has to be a reason for me to like your page and vice versa. Keep up the great work. 🙂 And no, you don’t have to go and like my page. LOL Cheers! 🙂

  8. Yup… very true! BUT UBC is a great way to meet folks who ARE interested and interesting – something I've found to happen with the last one I participated in. I now have new friends because of it. Just adding? Not much fun. 🙂

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