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The Language of Liking – Facebook Pages

ilikeThere’s been a major change on Facebook this week. Well actually it’s quite minor but the shift it represents is quite major.

If you’re not aware then brands and personalities can set up something called a page on Facebook and then people can become ‘fans’ by simply clicking a button to confirm they are a fan. The action is simple but what is the behaviour behind the action when someone says ‘yes I’m a fan’?

Become a fan of

Behaviour of becoming a fan
Are you a fan of something or someone? How long did it take you to become a fan? How much do you have to like something to become a fan of it? On a scale how far up it do you need to be to really really like it so much you’re willing to say ‘yes I’m a fan’?

Becoming a fan requires you to decide how much you like something not the fact you simply like it.

You see becoming a fan of something takes time. It requires you to decide how much you like something not the fact you simply like it. Generally speaking it’s not an overnight thing that happens much like ‘falling in love’. You know when you’re a fan but what are you up till that point? You’re wither a fan or a nothing, you’re in or you’re out!

The problem is it puts up an unseen barrier to people making a connection with the things they feel they have a connection to but are not willing to call themselves a fan. In this world of connections and ownership we all like to belong to something and connect with it and own it so a barrier to doing this is bad.

The barriers are up! So what’s changed?
This week Facebook have changed the word ‘fan‘ to ‘like‘ and this changes everything. No longer does someone have to wait to decide if they are a fan or not they simply need to say ‘hey yeah I like this’. They might of only seen, tried, tasted, visited or whatever once and they can say they like it. This is a very subtle change but a genius one!

It’s so much easier for someone to say they like something than to say they are a fan of it. There’s no real scale any more, you either like it or you don’t, it needs a much lower trip over level for someone to know if they like it or not and be willing to click that button and digitally say ‘I like’.

How is this good for page owners?
People, in a word! You see the name of the game for page owners is to get people to commit and connect to them so that they can interact with them and ultimately build there brand profile much more easily.

Being a fan was a barrier and with people only needing to process whether they like something or not we should see many many more people acknowledging their likes and so brands have a bigger connected audience.

What are your thoughts on this? We love to interact with our readers so please leave a comment.

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8 Responses to “The Language of Liking – Facebook Pages”

  1. Daniel Weir says:

    Isn’t the effort required to become a liker rather than a fan just the same though ? Or am I missing something ? If so isn’t it just a case of semantics ? Admittedly the term ‘fan’ doesn’t sit right with certain brands but that said it does show a commitment – I’ve never seen it as a barrier.

    And surely more people acknowledging their likes isn’t necessarily a good thing – isn’t there a possibility that people will just like everything and in fact cause a kind of reverse spam ie flooding brands with people who have only a fleeting connection with them ?

    DW x [Possibly wrong on everything]

    • Gary says:

      I agree the effort is the same but that’s simply a click. My point was more the thought process involved in deciding whether you’re a fan of something rather than simply liking it. Of course it’s a generalisation and for some it’s easier to commit than others, we’re all different. Not sure I agree about the semantics of it, I guess in the grand scale of it all yes the end results are the same i.e. you become part of something.

      Interesting second point. I guess only time will tell but again we’re all different and we all like different things so is it unlikely to happen? On the side of the page owner a fleeting connection is good enough as long as that person likes them they have access to send them messages and market to them.

      Thanks for your comment and some interesting thoughts [we all are possibly wrong on everything] :)

  2. Claire says:

    Aha…yes, I’d noticed that change earlier this week too!

    I agree with your comments and thoughts, and yes, being a fan does have connotations of football or bands….at being so committed to them that you will walk through water and wear the badge etc. So I can see that simply ‘liking’ is easier to agree to than become a fully fledged ‘fan’

    But do you know, I quite liked having ‘fans’ and seeing all my ‘fans’ converted into simply ‘likes’ makes it feel a bit more lonely! I also liked being a fan of other pages, ‘liking’ suggests a fleeting visit and a mild interest.

    Fan Claire of Breckland Orchard

    • Gary says:

      That’s an interesting thought about the greater ownership in being a fan over just liking. Do remember that whilst the tipping point in liking over being a fan is much lower it doesn’t mean that the person’s actual thoughts about your brand are low as you point out. They may ‘really really like’ or hopefully ‘love’ your brand & drinks but you’ll only find that out by engaging with them.

  3. tweeter says:

    One of the main selling points of having fans on your page was to be able to message them and keep them up to date on what you are doing. Will this still be done or do we all need to go back to private groups we moved away from a while ago?

    • Gary says:

      Hi Tweeter. I understand the mechanics hasn’t changed at all. This is makes it in my opinion easier for people to become part of what you’re doing and so you get more people to message.

  4. Mark Barton says:

    I think that the original idea was that you would become a ‘fan’ of a musician or an actor etc. I am not sure about the change from fan to like. Yes the process is the same but as you say fan has a stronger meaning to it.

    You can like a song but you are a fan of the singer.

  5. Gabriella Buckingham says:

    Hi Gary
    I LIKE the concept and as long as they do finally settle on retaining the “see all” button under the once “FANS” now “LIKE” s then I’ll be happy. It was unbelieveable to see that facility disappear then reappear and disappear again! Hopefully it will stay.


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