Yes, But Do They Really “Like” You?

Feb 1, 2012

First, a question: In your organization, how do you value (note: “value” is different from “measure”) social engagement?

The reason I’m asking goes to one of the great marketing arguments of our day:  What’s the value of a “Like?”  Ubiquity alone makes it seem like this little button just HAS to be important somehow? Doesn’t it?

I just read a provocative article in AdAge by Matthew Creamer that posits some very good and timely food for thought. According to an Ehrenberg-Bass Institute study (the Australia-based company’s clients include Procter & Gamble and CocaCola) slightly more than 1% of fans of the biggest brands on Facebook are actually engaging with the brands.

Using Facebook’s “People Talking About This” (PTAT) metric, which polls a running count of posts, comments, tags, & shares among other things, they found the percentage of PTAT was only about 1.3% of the total fan base.

Further, according to the same study, if you subtract lower engagement metrics (such as “Likes, which only require a click), you’re down to .45%.  That means that less than half a percent of people who “like” a brand actually take any action to further bond with it.

The real gold in this discussion is what happens right after a “like.”  If you subscribe to conventional wisdom (dangerous), it’s during the moments just after the moment of commitment when purchasers feel best about their decision.

If “liking” a brand or product is a commitment (granted, a very small one) then what happens in those next few moments – the afterglow moments – can have a pivotal impact on the life & nature of that relationship. So maybe we need to view “likes” as something more like door-openings – as quick windows of opportunity to do something genuinely engaging – rather than as having any intrinsic value.

About a year ago Facebook dropped its proprietary FBML language and effectively opened up the platform to customized fan page applications.  If your client’s fan page is now a blank canvas and you can do virtually anything with it that you please, maybe that “like” can become a stepping stone to a deeper engagement.

As loyalty professionals, it seems to me that Facebook has created a unique opportunity for us here.  How will you leverage that?