Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of the hospitality digital marketing company, buuteeq, prior to its acquisition by Booking.com in June 2014. The opinions expressed here are specific to buuteeq, though many of the technology insights remain relevant to customers and admirers of our new business, BookingSuite, a unit of Booking.com. Visit suite.booking.com for our latest thought leadership in the hospitality digital marketing space.
The BBC reports that Facebook has been adding anonymous ‘likes’ to websites and content without actual Facebook users ever having to click a ‘like’ button. The following are newly discovered ways to ‘like’ web content, without actually ‘liking’ it:
- Sharing a web page on Facebook using the Facebook ‘share’ button adds one ‘like’ to the web page.
- Sharing any URL using Facebook’s private messaging service adds two ‘likes’ to that web page.
- Leaving a comment on any Facebook story containing a link adds a ‘like’ for each comment to that link’s web page.
For all of these actions, Facebook adds anonymous ‘likes’ to the website shared or linked to in a news feed. No personal information is attached to the link–Facebook does not record the person or page that liked the content. But the number counter still goes up, sometimes by two for each ‘like’.
This news reduces the value and usefulness of a ‘like’ and presents some ethical difficulties. Suppose, for example, a competing property creates an article on their website containing lies about your property–and the page has a Facebook ‘like’ button on it. If you share a link to this page with anyone on Facebook, both you and they are ‘liking’ it. If you or they comment on a story you create with a link to that page, both of you are again ‘liking’ the web page. By simply desiring to have transparency with your guests and have a voice in the discussion, you’re inadvertently making the web page appear to be more popular than it is–and therefore more credible.
This also brings to mind a few strategies you can use to market your hotel website:
- When you post news stories about your property on Facebook, always include a link to your homepage, or an article on your homepage that has a Facebook ‘like’ button.
- Be sure to always respond to comments on your Facebook stories, especially those that contain links to your website. This will encourage the conversation to continue, increasing your web page’s ‘likes’.
- Use the private messaging feature on Facebook to communicate with your friends and guests–and always make sure to include a link to your property’s website.
In time, Facebook may change the way ‘likes’ work. Their current, updated methodology for Facebook ‘likes’ can be read here. Until then, take advantage of your knowledge of Facebook to help market your property, and be wary of what you share on Facebook.
This video on Vimeo shows you how to use Facebook’s private message function to add new ‘likes’ to your page. Warning: The example website used in this demonstration contains some nudity.