Now that the New Year is officially underway, I think it’s time to put into action the concept I started to discuss in an earlier post, “Let’s take back the word ‘Friend’.” However, let’s look at it from the Facebook business page standpoint of a “Like.” First, what does the term “Like” mean in social media?
The fourth edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Current English lists the verb “like” as follows:
like2*v. (likes, liking, liked) 1 find pleasant or satisfactory.
2 wish for; want.
Does this definition correlate to the “Like” of a Facebook business page? Not a lot—in fact, I think the word has been devalued in about the same manner as “Friend.” The “Like” button has become ubiquitous! It’s on business pages (it used to be “Fans”), on updates, ads, photos, videos—and off-Facebook as well. It can be embedded on almost every kind of content imaginable. Yet does clicking it mean we actually find content associated with it “pleasant or satisfactory?” Maybe—maybe not—it all depends on the “Liker’s” relationship with the brand.
Clicking the “Like” button of a business page certainly doesn’t make a person an instant brand advocate. For most it’s a first touch—a toe in the water to see if it’s worth going further. That’s it.
So what does collecting a zillion “Likes” of a Facebook page actually mean in terms of dollars and cents? Well, if all you’re doing is counting them, not much.
The same goes for “Liking” an update, photo or anything else that’s shared online. For instance, a hundred people can increase your Facebook edge rank by “Liking” content, but that number is pretty meaningless unless you actually develop a one-on-one relationship with those people by getting them to actually TALK to you and eventually BUY from you because they find your content and/or product or service RELEVANT to their lives.
Pete Shankman and I talked about this during a panel discussion at the Social Media World Forum back in November. In discussing the future of the “Friend-trend,” he predicted that relevance will become more and more important over the next couple of years, and that real INTERACTION is the key to creating such relevance.
Bravo, Pete! This makes perfect sense and ties right into my favorite social measurement, Return on Relationship™ (ROR). Where is the business relationship without relevance? The two are intricately linked—and THAT’s what we should be measuring, not how many people clicked a “like” button. In fact, Facebook’s recent change in their edge rank algorithm de-emphasizes number of likes in favor of sharing and other interaction (a step in the right direction).
“But Ted,” I hear you saying, “If I have 20,000 ‘Likes,’ doesn’t that mean I have a higher probability of making sales than a page that has 1,000 Likes?”
Not necessarily. It all comes down to how proactive you are about developing conversations with those individuals. For example, you could invest in Facebook ads that are compelling enough to garner 20,000 one-time likes; however, unless you actively share content that keeps those people interacting with your brand, all you really have is a number (and not a very informative one at that).
As an exercise, take a look at how you interact with the business pages of brands that you personally find relevant to your life. What are your favorites, and why? How do you interact with them? What makes you feel compelled to interact with a particular brand on social channels? Break it down, study it, and use that information to tweak your own brand profile and strategy!
Year end is often a time when businesses take a look at their marketing plans and decide how they’ll change them in the coming year. How do you plan on changing the way you measure your brand’s social effectiveness in 2012?