By November 10, 2011 0 Comments

The Facebook Like

These days it seems like you, me and our neighbor’s pet are all on Facebook. Facebook is certainly changing how we interact with each other and the world. We have digital records of college, weddings, birthdays, kids growing up and all other special occasions. Where these things used to be physical albums, now they are public and digital. Facebook has become the repository of our life’s memories.

Today, social media strategies are considered an integral part of any comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Brands and their marketing execs understand that social is the place they need to be – that’s where their consumers are. If you look up any big brand on Facebook, they will be there. As a consumer, we almost expect that any legitimate brand will have a Facebook page. Arguably, social media strategies are the most widely talked about, publicized and coolest/controversial digital strategies out there.

Social media is here to stay, with the percentage of social networking users increasing every year. Social media is important and there aren’t many people who will deny that, but… why Facebook? If you compare Facebook to other sites by the sheer number of unique visitors, you see that Facebook blows other social networks out of the water.

In the comScore media metrix, which measures the top online properties, Facebook ranked 4th in the U.S, not to mention the top-ranking social network. For the marketers out there, Facebook ranked at the 10th largest ad display network in the U.S.

 Simply put Facebook is hot right now.

 

Investing into a social media strategy seems like a good idea but there’s a slight issue:

Do current brand strategies resonate with Facebook users? There is a disconnect between the perceptions of what interactions between Facebook users and the brand actually mean.

Brands hope that Facebook users will buy their products, become an advocate, or for friends of friends, to become customers’ advocates. Facebook users, on the other hand, may be much less enthusiastic about the potential meaning of any particular action taken on the social network.

Within Facebook, the most popular way that users engage with a brand is through the “like” feature. In fact, 84% of users engage with a brand’s posts on Facebook through the “like” button. There is also data that suggests that Facebook likes will influence shoppers to purchase. In a study done by eMarketer on a sample size of 1,202 people, 35% of people said that seeing Facebook likes on a product would increase the likelihood that they will buy the product. 83% of users who have already liked a brand have also clicked the like button on the brand’s page. From a brand perspective, this sounds pretty phenomenal. Brands are interacting with their customers directly through the “like” function; thereby developing a relationship with them and gaining users who are now fans of the brand.

Or so it might seem.

According to one study, less than 42% of users actually found that the “like” meant that they were actual fans of the brand, while 58% of users perceived a “like” to mean that they were only subscribing to the brand with an expectation of special perks. A “like” may not even mean that much, 37% of people in the same study said that it meant nothing to them. In other words, a “like” doesn’t mean that the user is now a fan of the brand.

In addition to lackluster interest, some people have negative perceptions of the Facebook “like.” The graph below shows that people don’t want brands interfering with their lives or the lives of their friends. The largest reason people have not liked a brand is that they don’t want to be bombarded with messages or ads.

With these statistics, you might start to think that the social networking giant doesn’t provide as much value to the brand.

Now, I’ve given you a lot of reasons why a Facebook “like” isn’t all that it seems to be. However, you have to remember Mugatu and that Facebook is hot right now! Social media still has a lot of potential than can be tapped into with the right strategy. Brands have to give Facebook users content and utility that is more than just throwing advertising dollars into media strategies that give users negative perceptions or make them apathetic to their ads. Brands have to provide entertaining content and utility to the user where the brand becomes the backseat.

“Another example is from Orangina in Europe. Its slogan is “We’re the original.” It created an app that tells you who the first 10 people were you became friends with on Facebook. That’s cool. Occasionally, you’ll get a message from Orangina in your newsfeed suggesting a purchase of Orangina on a hot day. It offers a reason to enjoy Orangina rather than a 20% off promotion. Perhaps you’ll “like” Orangina because you have a reason to.”

-eMarketer

Facebook has a lot of potential, as we can see in digital and social trends, and people are still trying to figure out how to best utilize it. At the same time, we are getting there, to a point where brands are effectively communicating with their consumers by providing real value.

About the Author:

Nick Brady is a digital marketer with more than 3.5 years of experience across several verticals: Travel, Automotive, Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods. He lives and plays in Brooklyn and is well known for still quoting Anchor Man at various points throughout the day. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatNickBrady or circle him on Google+.

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