It's Like A Fan: Facebook Changing

This post in 140 characters or less: Facebook changing from "fans" to "likes" -- what does your brand do that people like? by @joemarchese

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?

4 comments about "It's Like A Fan: Facebook Changing".
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  1. Nettie Hartsock from The Hartsock Agency, March 30, 2010 at 4:53 p.m.

    Great article Joe. I think the more Facebook changes its formula, the more it will drive people away from using it. I don't know if I "like" all the changes it's making.

  2. Denis Hancock from nGenera Insight, March 30, 2010 at 5:09 p.m.

    It's an interesting change that, in my opinion, focuses on taking advantage of the "ambient intimacy" that social media enables.

    By semantically "lowering the bar" to "like" instead of "fan", it seems reasonable to assume more people will connect with more brands. What makes this interesting is that, in the "traditional" marketing world, a customer had to LOVE you in order to "evangelize" for you in any way - time, effort, etc. The ability to easily leverage connections with people that only "like" you - both directly, and by having these linkages visible to other people in their networks - could prove to be a very big deal.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, March 30, 2010 at 9:21 p.m.

    Clicking on Fan can assume one is going to be tagged for something. Like not so much.....Yeah right.

  4. Bonnie b Matheson from I Bet You Can LLC, March 31, 2010 at 12:24 a.m.

    I like Facebook as it was, but of course everything changes. That is why people need coaches to help smooth the way. And that is why people write books of "self help" as I did when I wrote Ahead of the Curve, an intimate conversation with women in the second half of life. I hope that "fans" of the book will still consider buying it...once they can only "like" it.

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