Why I Like the “Like” Button

The profligate use of the “Like” button changes the equation for marketers rushing to understand and leverage Facebook.

When originally introduced “Like” was an updated surrogate for being a “Fan.” The understanding was if you “liked” a brand you had some affinity and probably some loyalty. You probably wanted to know about deals, discounts, new products and have an inside track on what the brand was up to.

Now that “Like” has become a button placed all over the place, a “Like” is temporary and conditional. It’s no longer necessarily a statement of brand awareness, preference or loyalty. A “Like” is no longer the equivalent of a “Fan” a “Follower” or a “Friend.” Instead it’s a momentary vote of confidence that isn’t necessarily transferable or projectable.

So if marketers were previously collecting “Likes” with a CRM mentality, the frequent and expanded use of the “like” idea from a single statement of affiliation to an nearly ubiquitous button signaling either true love or an impulsive in-the-moment feeling or both at different times, calls into question the need to or value of accumulating likes.

The value of likes, either to the people who like you or those who observe their friends’ choices, is uncertain. They can like you big time and always or like you for a particular thing or in a distinct moment. Collecting “Likes” as a success metric or as a barometer of brand strength is much less clear and forces a re-evaluation of what brands want from the people they encounter in social media.

On the other hand, every time a Like is broadcast to the walls of your friends, the brand gains an average 131 impressions. So maybe it doesn’t matter so long as you are liked long term if you are liked frequently and regularly by large numbers of people.

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