You have undoubtedly been exposed to gimmicks, contests and the like which encourage you to "Like" a certain Facebook page. As a wise and experienced marketer, you may have already figured out that using the Facebook "Like" feature for such self-puffery is at best a questionable strategy. Now, though, Facebook is warning users about abusing and inflating "Likes" in blunt terms in its new Platform Policy:
"You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app's Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike."
Social media expert Catharine P. Taylor sees good coming out of all of this. She writes in Social Media Insider, "It's actually a much-needed reset of what used to be advertisers' baseline Facebook currency, a measurement of their worth. ...this is a step in the right direction. When it comes to quantity vs. quality in social media, there has been dawning recognition that it's more important to reach the right people than to reach many more of the wrong ones."
Which only reinforces the basic marketing truth that your brand cannot buy likability -- it must earn it through authentic interactions with consumers.