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5 Most Liked Advertisers on Facebook (and How They Did It)

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When General Motors announced it was no longer buying ads on Facebook back in May 2012, it didn’t pull out of Facebook entirely. It still maintains a number of pages for its various brands with hundreds of thousands of “likes” each: its GM page: 403,000 likes; Chevrolet: 1.3 million likes; GMC Trucks: 703,000 likes; Corvette: 969,000 likes; and the Chevy Volt with 188,000 likes. Meanwhile, Facebook has GM back at the negotiating table, promising to give it and all its advertisers more data on how their ads turn into revenue.

The Ford Motor Company, meanwhile, has continued advertising on Facebook despite GM’s departure. How has that affected its likability? The Ford Motor Co Facebook page has 1.6 million likes (300,000 more than Chevy’s); Ford Trucks 651,000 likes (52,000 fewer than GMC); Ford Mustang 4.2 million likes (3.3 million more than Corvette); Ford Fusion Hybrid: 175,000 likes (13,000 fewer than the Volt).

So, do ad dollars translate into likes? The answer is "sometimes." While Ford's flagship page has 20 percent more likes than its Chevrolet counterpart, GMC Trucks and the Chevy Volt still out-perform their Ford rivals. And yet the most eye-popping difference is the Ford Mustang absolutely crushing the Corvette in the Facebook Likes war.

So if ad dollars isn't always the answer, how do some of these mega-liked Facebook advertisers get all those likers?

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With 48 million likes, this corporate mainstay is the king of all products on Facebook, especially when you add in the 1.8 million likes for Diet Coke, the 1.8 million likes for Coke Zero, and the 1.1 million likes for something called Coca-Cola Light.

How did they do it? Well, it doesn’t hurt that Coca-Cola is delicious and ubiquitous, but it also doesn’t hurt that its Facebook content is connected with its current ad campaigns - most recently, the Olympics - which generate scores of shares, hundreds of comments and thousands of likes.

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With 37.9 million likes, the company run by the cryogenically frozen corpse of Walt Disney is the king of all media companies on Facebook (with the exception of Eminem and his 60.5 million fans).

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So how does Disney do it? Not only does it continue to promote its new offerings via Facebook (like this summer’s blockbuster Brave with its 855K likes), but the Mouse House is also smartly tapping into its happiness-inducing trove of magic to generate sharable Facebook images that go viral instantly and seemingly without fail, most notably with this still image from Dumbo, which was shared in July 2012 nearly 100,000 times.

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With 31.4 million likes, Starbucks, the corner caffeine dealer, tops all retail food chains in the Facebook likes war. One could say it’s because of the ubiquitous free wi-fi at Starbucks that leads to more likes, but McDonald’s has free wi-fi too and only two-thirds the likes.

So how is Starbucks doing it? For starters, it’s given its signature items their own fan pages, with the Frappuccino racking up 9.9 million likes of its own. That, combined with launching new product roll-outs, like this summer’s Refreshers, combined with a free offer gives Starbucks’ fans an incentive to share, which ratchets up the likes.

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Red Bull

With 29.3 million likes, Red Bull is behind only Coca-Cola in the beverage wars for Facebook attention. But unlike Coke, Red Bull’s Facebook page is virtually a TV channel of action sports filled with HD videos and shareable screen shots of Red-Bull drinkers in action, like this underwater image of a young female surfer - guaranteed like ba

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With 22.7 million likes, Skittles is the number one candy on Facebook, and it’s not content with resting on its sweet laurels. The Skittles team is investing in original content designed to be shareable and viral in order to promote the brand.

Like this, the "most likeable [sic] like button in the world" - the thumbs-up icon made out of Skittles - was liked 170,000 times and shared by more than 5,000 Facebook users. That will keep them coming back to taste the rainbow.

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