What’s in a LIKE? The future of the four letter word that changed the world

Posted on: May 29th, 2013

It’s as simple as one click of the mouse. It signals our approval and connects us with the things we care about, and it’s something I use every day. I like that picture of your holiday, I like that article about the new Game of Thrones season, and I even like that funny video of a cat playing keyboard.

On April 21 2010, Facebook introduced the like button. Today, it represents our survival in the world of social; we need to be liked. And the same goes for brands. Whether in the form of a smiley face, a little heart or the iconic ‘thumbs up’, the humble like button has become the primary way that people show their support for a brand online.

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As the like button has evolved, so too has our perspective on what’s really important. A brand’s success is no longer reflected by the number of fans or followers it has, but by the number of likes it attains through shared content. Social visibility and engagement will become more important than ever, and here are three predictions that explain why:

More likes, more search

The age-old debate about whether social activity affects a brands search ranking… it’s true that some search engines recognise links shared on public pages, but restrictions in retrieving social information means that ‘likes’ have had no direct influence over SEO.

And therein lies the enormous opportunity for Facebook Search, changing SEO as we know it by placing more emphasis on social presence. As improvements continue to be made, Facebook has had success in integrating its social data with its search functionality to provide more relevant results and therefore, more opportunities for brands to increase their ranking.

Google has also taken a step in this direction with the evolution of Google+.

Like. WANT.

Last year Facebook unveiled plans to introduce a want feature, the little sister of the like, with enormous commercial appeal. I particularly like this quote from author, Paul Marsden who describes “the like button as a one night stand, and the want button as a long term relationship”. For businesses using Facebook, it offers an open invitation to sell to people with ‘wantable’ products that present a direct path to buy.

Check out some of these brands who have partnered with Facebook to test out the new feature.

Like vs. Share

The ‘share on facebook’ button has been a winner in referral traffic to websites. It appears under almost every article you read online, every video viewed on YouTube and every picture gallery you click through. But what it doesn’t do is automatically subscribe users to future updates. That’s where some believe the like button has more power and will continue to infiltrate specific content found online and create more opt-in opportunities and extended conversations.

What are your predictions for the future of the ‘like’ button?

Posted by Ashley Gatte

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