'Like' likely to replace 'Become a Fan,' like it or not.Posted on Fri Apr 2 2010
Documents leaked from Facebook say that the "Become a fan" button that feeds fan pages could soon be replaced by a single-word call to action, "Like."
The reasoning seems to be that Facebook users are currently twice as likely to "Like" something as they are to "Become a fan."
I'm sure there will be much semantic debate among groups with names like "I bet we can get 1,000,000 people who want to bring back 'Become a fan.'" But what I wonder about is the thought behind Facebook's explanation.
Currently, the act of becoming a fan carries a weight of commitment to a brand or idea that the 'Like' action simply does not.
I might like it if "David Griner is in burrito heaven at Iguana Grill", but that's a one-time approval, not a long-term affiliation with Griner's eating habits.
Comparing the action of "liking" and "becoming a fan" is comparing apples and oranges. Facebook users are picky about the companies they support through Facebook fandom. But liking a passing event, status or picture? That's different; it's temporary and doesn't carry a weight on their public profiles.
So if Facebook believes that more people will engage with brands because they're being asked to "Like" a page rather than become a fan, I find it hard to believe that will really come to pass. In fact, it's more likely that "Like" will be used less across the board as users become distrustful of what clicking the button will mean.
Similarly, we could start to see an increase in fan backlash on brand pages, as people wonder why their Facebook home page is suddenly being filled with marketing updates from Waffle House.All that said, the switch is probably going to happen in the next few weeks regardless of concerns like mine. But as a social media marketing professional, it'll be interesting and maybe nerve-wracking to see how this affects the growth of our client page audiences.