Posted November 9, 2011 11:41 am by with 2 comments

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Facebook’s position at the top of the social media food chain exists for many reasons. First and foremost is the size of the network itself. With over 800 million accounts and over 500 million users accessing accounts on at least a monthly basis it’s impossible to ignore.

Get past the numbers though and one has to REALLY start to examine exactly what Facebook delivers beyond high level, top line numbers. If you are a brand and you are looking for something beyond a Like (which has honestly been so watered down in meaning like the word friend that marketer’s have to take a long hard look at what a Facebook Like really is) then you may be disappointed according to some research from Crowd Science and re-packaged by Marketing Charts. Take a quick look at what might be referred to as “The Meaning of Like”

In the new Facebook Age what is the meaning of Like after all? It’s becoming like a retweet which is an easy way to appear to be engaged but without needing to even come close to being that way. It’s for this reason, a least in part, that only 7% of Likes are about referrals. A referral requires thought and intention. If you refer something you have gone past the point of blindly passing something along the way. At the point of referral you have put your reputation on the line. Maybe that’s why so few actually do this. It takes time, thought and consideration; three elements that are in short supply on the online space these days.

Sound cynical? I am and you should be too. Top line numbers like 800 million users are impressive but they mean nothing unless the impact can be seen by you and your business directly. Over a billion people watch the Super Bowl each year but does that mean they know who is playing, what the score and could ultimately tell you who won the game? Nope. It’s just a big number that satisfies the world’s need to call something bigger and better thus assigning “real” value to it.

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Does this mean that Facebook Likes are useless? Not at all. What it does mean though is that as a marketer it is your responsibility to see beyond the numbers and look at the real value of any marketing channel whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google etc., etc.

So what’s your take on Facebook Likes? A simple way for people to act engaged or a real measure of caring?

  • DugPath

    I think that Facebook has been subverting the use of RSS feeds and a lot of people are focusing on following news and stuff about brands strictly through Facebook. I think that brands really like this change in technology usage because whenever people online post about something on Facebook, all of their friends see it and this is critical to understanding why so many brands are investing so heavily into Facebook and why there are so many companies emerging at that do nothing other than social media promotion. I think that Facebook likes are in themselves valuable, but how they convert into actual customers is also valuable, you’re right about that. I think this is creating a market for analytics tools to measure levels of engagement and conversion rates on Facebook and this is going to create a lot of opportunities for technically savvy firms.

  • Kestrel

    The amount of likers you have could be compared the amount of views you get on the a site. Yes it could be an impressive number, until you look at your analytics and see that you have a 90% bounce rate. I think you are spot on with you Superbowl comparison. I feel that a lot of companies are offering incentives and essentially bribing people to like them. While yes this will increase the # of likers, you aren’t really getting the value that you think you are. Personally I’d rather have 100 amazing reviews of top products then 10k likers that were bribed into likeing my company.