Facebook recently informed us that we had it wrong all along. We weren’t “fans” of brands. We simply “liked” them. Well now, The Zuckster is giving us permission to “like” comments on the book of Face.
I know, we’ve already been over why you should quit Facebook, but for those of you that have stuck around, this seemingly minor feature addition is actually a pretty significant one. I’ll admit, initially I brushed it off as the equivalent of a car adding a cup holder in the 2012 model. Nothing more than a minor cosmetic change that gives us only a marginal amount of added utility. BUT, once I got to thinking about it, “liking” comments will likely turn out to be much more than a feature that simply giving users another number to look at to see how cool they are based on how many “likes” they receive. How so?
Increases Interaction with Brands
Facebook user #112,012,234 visits Brand X’s Facebook Page. He takes a peek, skims some comments, maybe clicks on the photos tab, and maybe even “Likes” the page since he’s been a fan of Brand X since he wasn’t old enough to wipe his own…you get the point. The thing is, he/she isn’t THAT likely to come back.
Facebook user #124,123 (an early adopter, no doubt. Likely some sort of guru) visits Brand Y’s Facebook Page. He takes a peek, skims some comments, sees a hilarious comment from a user in response to the announcement that Brand Y’s widgets are now available in Vermont. What does he do? He “likes” the comment.
User #124,123 just took an action. It was an extremely small action. No more than a simple left-click of the mouse. However, this small action makes them highly more likely to return to your Page. Even if that comment wasn’t directly from your brand representative or community manager, it had an impact. Enough of an impact to make them take an action, which will maybe (just maybe) make your brand come to mind quicker in the future, leading them to return to visit.
Increases Relevance of Comments
I’ll first note that this point is based on something Facebook hasn’t done just yet, but they should do very soon. By allowing people to “Like” comments, they are essentially allowing the comments to an update to be reviewed based on their quality. Facebook should (hopefully) sort the comments on a post based on the number of “Likes” they have received, so that the best comments appear at the top. Sometimes, it is better to view comments chronologically, so there should definitely be a way to toggle how they are viewed (how else are you going to see what Suzie was saying “OMG, Josh, STFU!” in response to?)
This way, on a brand’s Facebook Page, new visitors will not have to sift through the junk that other fans are posting in response to an update and get straight to the good stuff. For users, this makes for a better experience. For brands, this makes for a more engaging Page. For Facebook, this should make them happy.
New Data for Facebook Analytics
Big brands often have thousands or millions of “Likers” (I still don’t know what to call them now that they’re not “fans”), which makes it pretty difficult to identify who the brand evangelists are on their Facebook Page without a lot of elbow grease and carefully monitoring activity on it. Again, I have no clue if Facebook plans on implementing this feature, but imagine having data on which of your “likers” received the most “likes” from other “likers” and which “likers” are “liking” the most comments? Confused yet?
Oftentimes (with many exceptions) people who are receiving the most “likes” are adding tremendous value to your Facebook community by providing insightful, funny, or relevant comments. You NEED to know who these people are so that you can use it however you choose. Maybe you reward them by sending them a prize pack. Maybe you “hire” them as an official brand ambassador. Maybe you simply highlight them on your website or blog. Heck, maybe you invite them out to your offices or place of business for a VIP day. Whatever it is, you can do something to both thank them and encourage others to become as much of a brand evangelist as they are.
So, those are just a few of the initial thoughts I had on how such a teeny tiny update is actually a potentially sorta big deal for us on the business side. Am I exaggerating the benefits of the new ability to “Like” comments, or is it beneficial in other areas as well?
P.S. – Like Zucks, I now give you permission to “Like” this (and any other) blog post at the top of the Page, so, have at it!
Image by Laughing Squid