Facebook, as you most likely know, has changed the way people and brands tell their stories through “Timeline,” the new Facebook layout featuring a large cover photo, an actual timeline, and more. Facebook’s first priority has always been about community and connection, and with the new format in place, Facebook is hoping to keep the social network growing and expanding. “Facebook is all about the experience and we suspect these timeline changes are but one step of many to come that they hope will serve that goal.”
Facebook Pages have been an effective resource for small and big businesses alike. Barriers between corporate and the customer have been broken down by using Pages as a communication and customer service tool. Brands have also been able to engage and reward fans like never before with campaigns that involve sweepstakes, contests and more. Just as marketers thought they had figured out the key to building a successful Facebook Page based on metrics they understood like counting “Likes,” Facebook Timeline for Pages has rolled out and now businesses of all sizes have to work harder to capture new and current fans in their news feeds….a goal for Facebook which keeps the social network truly interactive because the new structure urges Page owners to engage their community but more work now for the brands using Facebook because the “Like” may no longer be the most relevant number that measures success.
What is the Value of a Facebook Like (or Fan?)
Brands have learned to look at the number of Facebook “Likes” as a metric for their social media marketing. Originally dubbed “Fans,” now “Likes” for a business have been a way to measure a company’s success in and out of the social network. “Likes” have not only been an indication of how many followers a brand may have but have also grown to be a measurement tool used by distributors and stores when deciding on stocking their shelves with little known brands, by advertisers who have made note of Facebook “Likes” before placing their ads in hard copy publications, and by any kind of business associate who regards “Likes” as a point of reference as to where a brand stands among their competitors. Even investors are using the number of “Likes” as a way to decide on a startup’s potential. For example, a venture based company in the digital space we know of requires prospective companies to have “x” Likes before they consider investing. Some media companies have even attempted to place a numeric value on a “Like”:
“People who click the Facebook Like button are more engaged, active and connected than the average Facebook user. The average “liker” has 2.4x the amount of friends than that of a typical Facebook user. They are also more interested in exploring content they discover on Facebook — they click on 5.3x more links to external sites than the typical Facebook user.” – Facebook
“Invariably, whenever the question is asked, some mathematical savant – typically a self-professed digital alchemist – produces a proprietary algorithm that has somehow arrived at an answer along the lines of $1.07 (Source: WSJ) or $3.60 (source: Vitrue) or even $136.38 (source: Syncapse) (for the value of a “like”), and so begins the race to answer this now quasi-hallowed question of the new digital age.” – BrandBuilder
One thing that all of these sources can agree on is that there has been substantial value placed on a Facebook “Like,” so what do we do now that Facebook has changed the format where the “Like” is harder to attain and may not hold the same amount of value prior to Timeline?
While Facebook “Likes” are still present (but deemphasized) and fresh content and sharing are the priority (hence the new “# talking about this” number headlined next to “likes”), how will brands measure their success? Will marketers track how many people are talking about the page vs. “Likes?” Will stores and distributors, when deciding on working with new products, now be more interested in the engaged followers on a Page vs. the large number of people who never interact yet “Like” the brand on Facebook? How will companies change their approach with this new shift to Timeline? Will Facebook win with an ever growing interactive community or will marketers find a work-around that requires less effort with the content and community building while continuing to believe that a “Like” is all they need in growing their brand online? How are you approaching your Facebook Page now that Timeline is officially in place?
Co authored by Valorie Luther, Founder Creative Concepts, and Jenni Hilton, Creative Concepts PR and Social Media Strategist
Image via Danny Brown.