The top story in today’s SmartBrief on Social Media is the news that Facebook is making a subtle shift to the way users and brands interact on the network: Instead of becoming “a fan” of something, you will now just say that you “like” it.
As Erik Sass notes, the change is significant because it erodes the distinction between brands and individuals on the network. The change makes a lot of sense for Facebook — the network wants users to engage with brands more, so that it can become more profitable. But it is also a really great example of a key social-media principle at work: Allowing brands and customers to interact on a more informal level.
Say I like a particular kind of soda. Am I really a fan of the company that makes it? I don’t know if I’m ready for that level of endorsement. I’m kind of a commitment-phobe where companies are concerned. But yeah, I’ll admit to liking a product. For people like me, this shift makes interacting with brands feel like a more natural act. By breaking down barriers, the network is encouraging these kinds of tacit connections. And once a company establishes that weak tie, it can then work to win the customer over big time.
What’s your reaction to Facebook’s change? Are you more comfortable saying you “like” a product than bestowing it with “fan” status? Do you think brands will see a higher level of engagement because of the shift?