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Beyond the ‘Like’ Button

The Facebook ‘Like’ button began as one of the first connection points for brand sites and Facebook users. When it was unveiled at F8 back in 2008, marketers licked their chops over the prospect of being able to bring in fans to their companies’ Facebook pages and begin serving them with relevant content right on the Newsfeed. While the Facebook ‘Like’ button helped break down barriers between sites and an increasingly social base of web users, it hasn’t turned out to be quite the panacea that brands and publishers have been looking for when it comes to socializing content.

In fact, recent research from Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, an Australian marketing think-tank, revealed that the Facebook Like button seems to be failing to make much of an impression on users as they peruse their Newsfeeds. Ehrenberg-Bass’s study found that only about one percent of users actually engage with brand pages they’re subscribed to. While this data shows the failings of the Like button, the research also gives us a chance to rethink how brands can leverage Facebook (and other social networks) to reach a larger audience.

We frankly don’t need a study to understand that connecting your site to social networks entails a lot more than slapping on a ‘Like’ button. Rather, in order to drive referral traffic and increase engagement with content, sites should look to technologies that actually encourage on-site conversations that can be shared to social feeds. After all, why would you want to send all of your hard-earned traffic to Facebook when you can keep users on your site as they bring their friends over to interact with content and each other?

Technologies like Social Login, Comments, Share Plugin and Gamification can help you spread your content across the social web while keeping users engaged on your site. Just as importantly, by adding these components to your site, you can gain access to an incredible amount of permission-based social data – and that’s valuable stuff that you can use to inform your email marketing campaigns, content/product recommendations and ad-segmentations.

Without a doubt, the Like button opened doors to reaching social users. Now, with the advent of innovative on-site technologies, brands have the opportunity to create real, immersive social experiences and gain actionable insights on their users.

Increased engagement, traffic, pageviews and data – what’s not to like about that?

— Victor White, Marketing

By Victor White

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