Facebook has proven to be an online goldmine for retailers. With the opportunity to increase customer engagement and brand enthusiasm, the platform has become an avenue to reach customers where they are most — the social network now boasts more than 400 million active users.
Facebook recently announced that it would be changing the way users opt-in to brand pages. Rather than the option to “Become a Fan” of a brand page, users will simply have to “Like” the brand to start following.
So What Does This Mean for Retail?
Although the change is really a matter of semantics, analysts say this could change customer perception, both negatively and positively. MediaMemo has obtained a document currently circulating by Facebook, which said “’Like’ offers a simple consistent way for people to connect with the things they are interested in. These lighter-weight actions mean people will make more connections across the site, including with your branded Facebook Pages.”
The note also said that Facebook believes this change will incur more connections to pages, as research has shown that some users would be more comfortable with the term “Like.”
“I think [the change] will allow them to navigate easier and truly engage less,” said Justin Gray, CEO & Chief Brand Officer, MaaS Impact. “Consider the parallels to adding a comment vs. ‘liking’ something. I ‘like’ my friends crazy picture of a dog sleeping surrounded by 10 cats… But I don’t want to comment on it. The same is true for business, you may ‘like’ my logo or something I have to say but do you really want to hear it on a daily or weekly basis – probably not. Better yet, do I want to expend employee time focusing on Facebook as a marketing channel knowing that my ‘fans’ may not eve know what I do?”
Facebook users click “Like” almost two times more than they click “Become a Fan” everyday, according to the social network. Mashable’s Adam Ostrow said this change could make it easier for brand advertisers to accumulate fans quickly. Coversely, Ostrow said, users might not completely understand what they are opting into.
“Retailers as a whole I think are shortening their messages to match Facebook’s attention span,” Gray said. “As an outlet that is increasingly being viewed on mobile devices, games, trivia, pictures, videos — all translate well on the medium. Messages that are easy to like will be… Well, ‘liked’.”
Ultimately, this change does give retailers the opportunity to humanize their brand. Building on the fact that users click “Like” more than “Become a Fan,” this could mean more brand enthusiasts opting in to hear and see more from your organization.