#likesforlikes: How Brands are Thriving From Our Relentless Thirst for Approval.

#likesforlikes: How Brands are Thriving From Our Relentless Thirst for Approval.

One of the greatest uses for social media today is clever marketing. Thanks largely impart to the vast narcissism of millennials online, it has becoming extremely easy for marketing directors to do their jobs. Such a large part of marketing can be done over social media, simply by having users promote their brand and products for them.  

Think of how many girls you have on your social media selling detox tea, or celebrities tagging the brands they are wearing. Instead of taking out huge ads in a magazine, or producing commercials, companies just need to send their products to social media influencers, and the rest is done for them. In turn, many less known users have started using brands in their own posts as a way to communicate with a larger global community.

The appeal to promoting a brand is the relationship gained to that brand. Often times, users will tag the brand in their photo, and recognition in the form of a “like” from that company’s account is enough to satisfy the user. One such company that relies heavily on user generated content is Red Bull. Consumers of Red Bull are encouraged to post photos on sites like Instagram and Twitter that incorporate the can, and to tag these photos with the Red Bull account and the associated hashtags. If the social media coordinator for Red Bull’s Instagram or Twitter thinks the content is worthy, the Red Bull page will repost the photo, and credit the original user.

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Here is an example of RedBull reposting from @harvard_myklebust ‘s Instagram accountHere is an example of RedBull reposting from @harvard_myklebust ‘s Instagram account

This is a huge win for the original poster, as the attention from 64.9 thousand users (Instagram) boosts their online presence. It’s an even bigger win for Red Bull, as a photo that would normally have to be paid for was just attained for free. Photographers aren’t as needed, and the material generated for the Red Bull Instagram page is more organic and creative. Instead of getting compensation for their efforts, users get the instant gratification of online popularity.  Increased follows is more than enough for many social media users.

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Red Bull’s twitter retweeting from Anthony Davis’ Twitter Feed

Companies know that we are suckers for online validation, and use our thirst for approval as their main marketing campaign. We generate the advertisements daily by what brands and products we choose to hashtag, tag, and “like” on social media. The exchange positively affects the projected self image of the approval seeking poster and saves companies resources on advertising.

So next time you’re taking a selfie and want to tag the affiliated brands for that guarunteed 20 extra likes, ask yourself: what are YOU gaining, and how are you being used?








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