Users have spoken in outrage (as they do with any major change to a a major platform) over YouTube’s recent changes to comments. Main changes include Google+ integration, improved moderation tools and the ability to post publicly or privately. Despite the complaints of some 90,000 who are petitioning, Memeburn makes a convincing argument on the why this is an improvement for YouTube. Among their most salient points are the fact that tying your comments to an identity promotes meaningful discussion–a far cry from the current state–and curation as the video owner and those in your circles are more visible. Brands should be in favor of this change (aside from the improved audience data) as YouTube has moved to become a more premium network a brand would like to associate with. While comments will likely drop as a result of this change, they will be more impactful. In the same way marketers have grown weary of the value of a like, they should adopt the same approach to comments or engagements.
Building equity in someone else’s platform has never been the most secure means of operating, so it’s no surprise that some publishers are shying away from putting significant resources into developing fan bases on Facebook. Now that Facebook’s new algorithm limits a social post’s reach to 20 percent of a brand page’s audience, the cooling effect is accelerating. As digital and social media managers begin to understand the effect Facebook fans have on their brands, and what it takes to gain and retain them, many are looking other places for organic fan interaction and brand promotion. This could be the beginning of the end of the “like” era.
Facebook recently unveiled a variety of new features. Among the changes was a subtle but important shift in the way Facebook lets users express their affinity for a brand. Prior to the update, users clicked the â€œBecome a Fanâ€ button in order to connect their Facebook profile to a brandâ€™s page. That button has now been replaced by a â€œLikeâ€ button. Hereâ€™s what Facebook says about the change on their consumer-facing information page: â€œWe believe this change offers you a more light-weight and standard way to connect with people, things and topics in which you are interested.â€
If the change from â€œFanâ€ to â€œLikeâ€ is intended to make things easier for users, what does the shift mean to brands? Is this an opportunity for deeper or wider engagement? Or is it a harmful modification to the existing system?
Why this matters
Facebook assumes that consumers feel much more comfortable liking a brand than they are declaring themselves brand fanatics. In some ways this goes to the heart of the brand/consumer relationship, which is frequently a tumultuous and uneven affair. Brands hope for long-term consumer commitment. On the other hand, consumers are fickle â€“ â€œbrand loyaltyâ€ is more often â€œbrand that Iâ€™m loyal to, so long as Iâ€™m not swayed toward a competitorâ€™s offering for any one of an almost nearly infinite list of reasons.â€ Continue reading “I Like you. I just donâ€™t Fan you.”