Soon people traveling the interweb won't be becoming "fans of brands" on Facebook,but instead will simply have to acknowledge they "like" a brand. According to the All Things D, who broke the story (and has images), not much else is changing. As the memo from Facebook to advertisers says, "your fans are still your fans." So what does this change mean for brands?
For one, semantics are very important. Facebook is betting that, based on their data, people are more likely to click the "like" button vs. the "fan" button. This will allow brands to form more connections to consumers through the Facebook platform, and allow Facebook to become an even more integral part of brand-consumer communication.
Is this good news for advertisers? Yes and no. Yes, because I believe the change will have the intended impact, and brand campaigns in social media will result in more "fans" (Can we still call people "fans"? "Likers" just doesn't work). But it will also mean more work for the brands once they gather fans. If people are more likely to become fans of more brands with the like button, it will mean brands have more work to do to cut through all the noise. Please, if you are working on a social media strategy that focuses on gathering fans, read "A Facebook Fan Isn't Your Marketing Pincushion."
Something else brands, and Facebook, should keep in mind is that for a while people will click the new "like" button because the ad is funny, interesting or relevant, because clicking the like button right now is a very lightweight way to demonstrate support. But as people realize that clicking the new "like" button leads to a semi-permanent bond between them and a brand, that rate may decrease.
In the end, this simple language change will help to smooth the process of people connecting to brands using the Facebook platform. The big question to brands is still: How do you engage your fans? What value do you offer them? Remember, Facebook has a formula for what shows up in people's "main" news feed, because there is just too much noise for people to see everything. The best way to end up in the main news feed is to put items that people find interesting, relevant and valuable into your fans news feed to generate comments, likes and additional shares.
So what will your brand do that people will like?