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A Brief History of the Facebook “Like” Button and its Effect on Marketing
They used to say a “dog year” was equal to seven human years. I suspect it’s the reverse for “social media marketing years” because of the bewildering speed of updates. How much do you recall about Facebook?
Technology changes all the time, so I regularly go back to my older blog posts to fix out-of-date information. The 2015 post about Facebook’s “Dislike” button, however, was way beyond the help of a little updating!
I was reporting on the rumor that Mark Zuckerberg had plans to release a thumbs-down version to go along with the thumbs-up “Like” button. Do you remember that? It never actually happened. Instead, after months of speculation, Zuckerberg’s team released an extension of the “Like” button called Facebook Reactions. They included the original Like, plus Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry.
The reasoning was obvious: With all the negativity on social media already, the option to “Dislike” posts was just a bad idea and everyone could easily see how that would spin out of control. In fact, my opinion on “Dislike” is the only bit of my 2015 blog post that is still relevant:
“On the one hand, expect criticism and a new avenue for negative feedback. On the other hand, use this as an opportunity for another channel of engagement on your posts.”
We have all been using Reactions for years now and are familiar with having a wider range of emotions to choose from when engaging with Facebook – and now, Meta – posts. It’s just so easy to engage with a click rather than taking time to write out a response, which is both good and bad for marketing.
Businesses and organizations would love to get more and better feedback on social media, but it’s kind of hard to have a conversation with an emoji response. That was the same argument back when Facebook first considered having a “Like” button. Did you remember that? I didn’t, but it’s true. For the first few years, Facebook didn’t have a “Like” button. It finally appeared in 2009 and marketing types worried it would kill off engagement.
The original button was called “Awesome” rather than “Like,” but instead of decreasing, studies showed that engagement actually increased after the button option went live. Such a brief interaction made engaging with a post painless and that data was easily recorded. When Facebook’s algorithm interpreted the data, it figured posts with a lot of engagement through “Likes” must be popular, so it showed those posts to more people more often. Who then “Liked” it, too.
What’s the upshot of all this history? Conversational engagement is down. But button-clicking engagement is up. Some follower opinions can be gleaned by noting which Reaction button they click. And posts with greater engagement get shown to more followers.
Unrelated studies suggest that organic social media marketing doesn’t have much of an impact on purchasing intent, but it does impact brand recognition and customer satisfaction. Regardless, then, of your paid social media goals, good organic marketing should have a place in your strategy. The team at Sprocket Websites provides both services, so when you’re ready to plan out a strategy of your own, give us a call!
Photo by ROCKETMANN TEAM:
This article is an update to “Facebook’s Dislike Button: Marketing Friend or Foe?” dated 9/25/2015.
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