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 That button has now been replaced by a â€œLikeâ€ button.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.”