Screen-Shot-2012-12-13-at-09.32.27Seriously, the Beatles have sung it so many times that anyone that sees the title can probably hum the tune to it. However, many organizations still do not seem to be able to understand that it is the truth. Especially in this age of social media. Money cannot buy you love. However hard you try. And lately we have seen many trying. Together with you, I would like to take a look at a couple of corporate efforts to buy love and fans by spending money on social media channels. And I want to leave you with some ideas of what you can do to make these channels work for you.

Over the past weeks, Shell has often turned up in my Facebook timeline. They are talking about how wonderful they are. How much they care about the world and the environment. And only a day or two ago they posted the oil companies’ equivalent of the macho game “who’s got the biggest”. (See image.) This morning I was greeted by the results of all their money spent. Three of my friends have liked their page. Pathetic.

So, I went to take a look at their Facebook page. It is a site describing Shell in all its glory. Like the sites of so many large companies, you could call it a corporate display of narcissism. The subjects addressed are Shell, and Shell alone. If they address any other subject, it is solely from the Shell point of view. Such as working on a less pollutive environment, which really is all about the Shell eco challenge. And even regular oysters are turned into a Shell product. To be honest, it does not matter how many dollars you spend on Facebook marketing, the general outlook does not trigger me to be a Shell fan. And it shows. For a company with over 90,000 employees and almost 500 billion in revenues, a mere 2.5 million Facebook fans should not be something they ought to be excited about.

I could understand if you, and Shell, would come up with the argument that its business is fuel. Nobody loves fuel. It is something you put in your tank whenever you want, wherever you are. You do not build a relationship with a gallon of petrol. Or even bio-diesel for that matter. That is a reasonable statement to make. And it makes you wonder how this example connects to our organizations and churches. Well, the whole process changes when you put love in it. When you love your audience. When you talk to them. When you address the things that they feel are relevant to them.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-13-at-10.10.03I know the comparison with coffee is going to be a big step. But for many, coffee used to be just like that gallon of petrol. At some point in time you would be craving a cup and you bought it wherever you were. And then Starbucks came along. They made buying coffee a rewarding experience. They put the love in it. And if you go to their Facebook page, you see that they care for their customers. This morning when I went to their page, they had just used a customers’ picture as their cover photo. They talk to their customers and address their issues. They even allow their customers to vent their thoughts towards Starbucks. When I visited their page today, there was someone who posted about how Starbucks does not support the military. And 107 comments below the post where from fans defending their shop and setting the record straight. Why? Because they love their shop and their coffee. The 33 million likes prove that point.

If you want to be on Facebook, remember one thing. It is never about the likes. It is about your attitude towards people. Because your Facebook Page (or your Google+ page, or any other social network page or account) is not about YOU, it is about THEM. And if you remember that, people will come and they will return. Because they care about you, because you care about them.