“Like” Means Different Things To Different People

Brian Solis recently released the 7th book called “The End of Business As Usual”. In the book, he talks about the 3 Fs of social media – friends, followers and fans – and what they mean to brands. A person on a social network becomes part of one of these categories when he clicks the magic button “Like” or “follow “. But what does this act really mean, what does it mean for brands and what do customers intend to convey by it?

In the following we will look at a study by ExactTarget that highlights the difference between how brands and consumers interpret the act of Liking on Facebook. It can be a good fact to keep in mind while designing a contest or an offer.

What does a Like mean for a brand and customers?

For most brands, the word fan means loyalty, advocacy and agree-ability for a brand.

But, for many customers, clicking Like is just a reflection of support. In some cases, the gesture is merely to be part of an offer, contest or promotion.

It is good to realize that there may be a difference to how you as a brand perceive a Like and how the Like is perceived by the customer – and accordingly design your engagement strategies. The reality is that people are actively Liking brands and many know exactly what they expect from the connection.

Here is a chart that shows why customers Like things on social media

Like button chart 1

How does Like differ by age?

ExactTarget also found that age is a factor when defining the meaning of Like.

  • Younger consumers, those aged 15-24, reported that they did so as a form of self-expression and public endorsement of a brand. There was also a desire to obtain coupons or deals as a result of the connection.
  • Consumers aged 25 and up expect something of value in exchange for their “Like”. They are not interested in general conversations and are not afraid to unlike brands that fail to deliver discounts, relevant product information, or exclusive offers.
  • Interestingly, when consumers “Like” something outside of Facebook, in many cases, it simply serves as a bookmark to review something later, perhaps to also share with friends.

However, consumers are quick to note here, that this action is not indicative of any form of consent for marketing.

Here is a chart that shows what customers expect when they “Like” it. Take a look and tell us if your brand fulfills all these expectations:

Like button 3

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.


Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.


Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.


At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.