In its first week 50,000 websites installed the Facebook 'like' button, this number increased to 100,000 in the first month. According to Facebook, speaking on Thursday (21st April, 2011), their 'like' button is added to more than 10,000 websites globally every day. One year on we look at how the Facebook footprint has pervaded the internet.
As we have seen from the figures, the Facebook 'like' button is spreading rapidly across online content, but what is the function of the 'like' button and what does it mean for public relations?
Why 'like' it?
When a user clicks the button the content, usually a product, article or brand, is then posted – along with an optional comment – to the users Facebook profile. This provides an easy way for users to share content with their friends, creating an affinity between themselves and things that they are interested in.
From a business or public relations perspective, the most obvious value of adding the 'like' button to your website is the increase in traffic it will generate as your content is spread across the internet through the medium of Facebook.
Helpfully, Facebook has released some statistics to enable us to better understand the value of a Facebook 'liker'.
“The average 'liker' has 2.4x the amount of friends than that of a typical Facebook user. They are also more interested in exploring content they discover on Facebook -- they click on 5.3x more links to external sites than the typical Facebook user.”
What does 'like' mean for PR?
The main purpose of the 'like' button is to increase user engagement with online content; a concept which catapults the button into the public relations spectrum.
As well as creating this initial link between an organisation and its consumers – or potential consumers – the 'like' button also provides a means to build and nurture relationships; surely this has to grab the attention of even the most sceptical PR practitioner. When connecting, via the 'like' button, the user is obliged to agree to a permission or authentication step, thus increasing the ability of the organisation to connect. This could potentially provide the social media savvy practitioner with a plethora of social network profile data on their consumers – including information on other items that they have 'liked' across the internet. Valuable information for anyone looking for new ways to reach publics, and providing information on potential targets for a future campaign or product launch.
Clearly the Facebook 'like' button is an internet phenomenon which is going to be around for a long time so it is crucial for brands and product to embrace it, adding the button – which literally takes seconds – can both increase brand awareness and provide vital consumer information. It is definitely time for public relations to embrace the online 'like' revolution.http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150238854211729&set=a.376995711728.190761.20531316728&type=1&comments
'Like' button: http://mashable.com/
Facebook 'like' buttons: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150238854211729&set=a.376995711728.190761.20531316728&type=1&comments