The insight reports Facebook provides to all businesses with pages continue to call users who “Like” the company “Fans”, despite the recent semantics change. But this is not an error – rather this can be taken as a signal that the language change does not mean any less commitment from users engaging with brand pages. The ability to become a “fan”, a “liker” or a “follower” are all just terms for the same thing – a social connection that allows businesses to share information and consumers to engage with those businesses. Thus this change should benefit marketers, by lowering the barrier for consumers to join a page, but still ensuring the same level of engagement between businesses and consumers.
Facebook posited that it made the change to create a more lightweight form of commitment for consumer users, however page owners and administrators will see little difference. A memo from Facebook about the change stated: “The purpose of this change is to maintain Pages’ powerful communication channels while making it easier for users to connect with pages.”
So what has really changed? “Likers” still receive notifications in their newsfeed about the company. Brands still appear in individual users’ info tabs, indicating that the user “Likes” them. Pages still have lists of “People Who Like” them. The only real difference should be an increase in the volume of consumers connecting with businesses. Marketers and businesses can achieve more social connections because the act of “Liking” something is inherently more psychologically acceptable than “Becoming a Fan” of the same thing. The level of interaction businesses can have with their social connections is the same, but fewer individuals will be deterred by the intensity of having to declare themselves a “fan”.
So the next time you open your Facebook insight report, don’t be surprised that you still have fans – this is merely a manifestation of the insight that your social connections are still just that, and will continue to be valuable for building your brand.