For years, brands bought friends via Facebook. Giveaways, competitions and begging gave a lot of brands a large crowd.

One of the brands I worked with, Burger King, was one of the best in their class. Giving away free Spotify invites (back in the day when Spotify was not open to everyone), burgers and gift cards. Tens of thousands of people liked their Facebook page, for all of the wrong reasons.

It went so far that after little over a year, all the feedback they got from their posts were brats asking for more free stuff.

They were buying friends, and well—that’s not how to create an audience.

So we created this amazing campaign, where we gave away free McDonald’s burgers to anyone who chose to unlike us on Facebook. We didn’t want people there that were not genuine Burger King fans. It worked, and it was really fun. And it showed their true fans that they are the ones who matter, not the brats.

For building an audience you can really do three things.

  1. Buy them
    Through advertising and giving stuff away in exchange for following the brand.
  2. Borrow them
    Use an influencer’s audience to tell the story of your brand, and most likely a lot of people will voluntarily join your audience as well.
  3. Earn them
    Create content that is truly amazing, that tells stories and that adds value. So that it will naturally spread through your existing audience. 

Number three is of course the best option, but also the hardest. Hard work always pays off though.

But number two is the closest thing you can get to number three if you find it hard to create truly amazing content. Let someone else do that for you, and let them tell your stories to their audience.

People trust people, not logos. So stop buying friends, and start making them instead. Those kind of relationships last much longer, and feel sooooo much better. I promise.


Thomas Moen

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