We’ve all seen the ‘Thumbs up’ symbol on Facebook, and we’ve all tapped the icon to show appreciation or agreement on a Facebook post that someone has wrote, or expressed our agreement with the expression of an image some has created, or we may have even given a click of ‘thumbs up’ to a video that has somehow motivated us in a positive way.
A ‘like’ is a complex Facebook expression tool that can mean many, many things from a Facebook user’s stand point, and can be interpreted in many, many ways by a Facebook Page administrator and a Facebook content creator, and be filtered out, measured and a means of intent and interest by Facebook’s algorithm.
What exactly is a ‘Like’ on Facebook all about? It sounds like it’s as confusing as all heck. Well, it is, and it isn’t. Much depends upon what a Facebook user is using the Like button for:
– A Facebook user ‘Likes’ your content posted to your timeline (a post in the form of a statement, an image shared, a video viewed)
– A Facebook user ‘Likes’ your Facebook page and becomes a ‘Fan’
A ‘Like’ in its simplest form is a ‘vote’ of appreciation by a Facebook user to express agreement with a statement you’ve made in form of Content you’ve created, such as:
– I ‘Like’ and/or ‘agree’ with the comment (post) you made on your time line
– I ‘Like’ and/or ‘agree’ with the image you posted to your time line
– I ‘Like’ and/or ‘agree’ with the video you posted to your time line
A ‘Like’ on a Facebook Page can be interpreted as an expression of interest in your Facebook page, and once a User clicks the ‘Like’ button on your page, the Facebook user is committing to a public expression of interest by becoming a ‘fan’ of your Facebook page.
Either way, a Facebook user pressing the Like button is a huge step that indicates more than just reading and viewing Content and Pages, it’s an act that Facebook differentiates and measures as one of its forms of User’s Engagement. Yes, pressing that ‘Like’ button is a pretty big indicator, and yes, Facebook does measure how many times that Like button is pressed, and Facebook does place a great deal of differentiation to content and pages that is liked; this differentiation is Facebook’s proprietary algorithm called Edgerank.
Facebook is continuously updating their algorithm formula and measurement systems, which can alternatively reward Facebook Pages and Facebook content that Facebook Users are engaging with, or it can filter out certain content on Facebook User’s time lines that does not meet what Facebook’s standards of a Facebook User’s interest warrants. The Edgerank algorithm is designed to show more of what Facebook Users give a crap about, and hide what Facebook Users don’t give a crap about.
Whoa, that’s an extremely heavy thought: Facebook has mathematically figured out what its Users want to see.
Now, you may be surprised, and definitely be alarmed that Facebook has figured out how to present content to its users based upon a Facebook User’s interests, and rightly so. You may be spending hours and hours creating content for your Facebook page that is never seen, by anyone, ever, because Facebook is filtering your content out. But, that is exactly what is happening.
Content, and how engaged Facebook users are with it, is not just driven by content creators, it’s really User interest and ‘Like’ driven.
A Facebook User can browse all sorts of Content and Pages, but those clicks on the ‘Like button’ are what separates what people are interested in, and what they are not interested in. Content that you spew out there, be it created by yourself, or if you are paying someone else to create it for you, can be entirely unseen and meaningless unless someone LIKES it! That ‘Like’ button is providing a vital service, and Facebook knows it, and now, so do you.
The more people who ‘Like’ your content, the more your content will be rewarded with more exposure within the Facebook system, that’s what Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm is designed to do. ‘Unliked’ content simply dies a horrible death, or may not be seen at all. So, as you can see, it’s vital that your content is interesting, and most of all, engaging (that like button gets clicked), or else you are just filler cluttering up the system.
So, how does one make ‘drycleaning,’ or more importantly, your business, interesting and engaging so that people WANT to click that like button? Well, that is as much art as it is science. It takes a lot of trial and error to discover what people are interested in. But not only that, you also have to be aware of Facebook’s policies regarding content creation, and Facebook’s rules regarding what you CAN and CANNOT do regarding getting people to engage with your content.
Facebook’s Edgerank system also enforces its rules regarding content creation. Practices such as ‘Like Begging’ or ‘Like Baiting’ and ‘Like Gating’ are not only frowned upon, and the Edgerank system will filter out such content developed around such practices so such content will not be seen.
‘Like Begging’, ‘Like Baiting’ and ‘Click Baiting’ is the practice of asking Facebook Users to ‘Like’ and ‘share’ content. If you excessively ask readers of your content to ‘Like’, ‘share’ and click on links or content, Facebook will demote that content and limit its reach within Facebook’s system, if not filter it out entirely. The reason Facebook does this is because Facebook Users have told Facebook that business have been using ‘Like Begging’, ‘Like Baiting’ and ‘Click Baiting’ practices to spam User’s newsfeed/timeline. Facebook also frowns upon this practice as it creates a build-up of false likes versus the natural flow of Organic likes. Facebook is targeting Business Pages for this filter, and not individual user’s pages, so if you are deploying this tactic on your business page, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
‘Like Gaiting’ (also known as ‘Fan Gating’) is the practice of forcing Facebook Users to ‘Like’ or ‘share’ a Page before being able to see certain content. An example is an App or Tab on your Facebook Page that shows different to ‘Fans’ versus ‘Non Fans’ where a ‘Fan’ can click to enter, and a ‘non-fan’ has to ‘Like’ a page before they can view the content. Facebook is enforcing this policy because: ‘To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike’.
As you can see, Facebook is really trying to create a level playing field where their Users are assured that they will see only content that genuinely is of interest to them, and businesses that fail or refuse to play by the rules are simply wasting their time and resources to game the system. More and more you can pretty much rest assure that a ‘Like’ is truly a genuine expression of interest and agreement, and a Fan is truly a fan with a genuine interest in your business or services.