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Under the Microscope: Companies that use Facebook Likes as a quid pro quo

What: A LivingSocial deal for a local dental group that offered a discount if someone "liked" them on Facebook.

Why: Obviously, it works, especially when coupled with a mass distribution channel like LivingSocial.

What's Wrong With It: If and when the practice becomes universal it is bound to turn likes into the equivalent of check-ins, writes Greg Sterling, principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, who flagged the offer on his site. Check-ins, he notes, "reflect popularity but don’t count as an endorsement."

What Else: Facebook hints at this technique as well in its holiday sale tips for consumers. "Give a social media campaign a go and ask customers to submit content such as videos, photographs or letters on how your product has changed their lives. Give customers who submit a discount on their product of choice, and then use their quotes and images on your website next year."


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