It sounded a bit like a seriously broken record. For more than a year, most of the marketing, communications and external relations efforts for way too many companies and agencies have been terrorized by one magic word: “LIKE”.
Facebook’s LIKE button was rapidly becoming the dictator of influence. Forget about engagement, forget about sentiment, and forget about relevant content, social ecospheres, authenticity: How many “LIKES” can we have by end November? In an online world where everything can be measured, the magic key of demonstrating success was a ridiculous simple graph showing your brand had more LIKES than the competitor. Add the evil grin on the face of the presenter: we had more LIKES!
Everyone in his right mind knows that “LIKE” does not mean a thing, that LIKE can be bought, 27 dollar per thousand… still, in many pointy haired boss presentations, LIKE became the barometer of online success.
LIKE does not give any hint on the impact content has on an audience, how the content is received, discussed, analyzed, shared, rejected. LIKE is a tool to artificially shift stuff into a timeline. Lots of great content was created, shared, approved and enjoyed, but never liked… and thus never made it into the charts.
Zuckerberg and his team are now taking wind out of the sails of LIKE. LIKE will be less dominant. People can share without liking, or simple indicate what they read. Facebook moves clearly towards a deeper connection with the content. Basically, it turns everyone’s profile into a dynamic content page. Mark Zuckerberg said at Facebook’s keynote: “The next five years are going to be defined by the depth of engagement”.
Creating depths of engagement will finally force brands and companies to turn away from the cheap “LIKE” hunting, to rethink their engagement strategy. Creating content that makes the Facebook crowd tick will force communicators and marketers to work harder for their money.