It looks like Facebook is still up to its old tricks. Following the announcement of the upcoming ability to "Like" the entire Internet, the world's top social networking platform has set the "Like" functionality to entirely replace the "Become a fan" button on brand Fan Pages. Heads up, marketers! Though this move sounds pretty minor, it implies a great deal.
The Marketing Bit
According to MediaMemo, Facebook users click “Like” nearly twice as often as they click “Become a Fan." And with the release of the universal "Like" button upon us, we can only expect this number to increase.
"The idea of liking a brand is a much more natural action than [becoming a fan] of a brand," said Michael Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, a company that helps establish brands on social networks. "In many ways it's a lower threshold."
Statistics say Lazerow is right, so it's natural to assume that the verb change will make it easier for brand advertisers to accumulate fans. Fan pages are an increasingly large part of Facebook’s business layer, giving participating brands a cost-free nook in the world's largest social network.
Brands are encouraged to buy Facebook ads promoting their site, and a number of analytics solutions have been released from popular companies like Omniture and Webtrends as a result.
The Regular User Bit
Meanwhile, it could mean something less exciting for regular users. After all, becoming a fan means receiving updates from the page in your News Feed. The differentiation has been nice, and perhaps it's because there's so little involved with clicking "Like" that the function has gotten so much attention.
Facebook is obviously on a mission to turn their “Like” button into one big giant funnel of interaction, but they don't seem too concerned about the negative feedback. In fact, considering the privacy backlash in December and the negativity surrounding their plan to automatically share user data, perhaps it's safe to say Facebook has never been that concerned.
The platform's team hasn't said whether the verb change will apply to all pages—such as those for celebrities, musicians or artists—or just brands, but we expect details to be released at the f8 Developer Conference in April. Stay tuned!