Brands & Buttons: What Facebook’s Experimental Follow And Review Buttons Predict
Last week, the interwebs chanced upon Facebook testing a couple of new buttons on their Pages – Follow, Review and even, a new Like button. First spotted by Wimdu on their company page, the Follow button is being tested alongside the Page Like button. Not in lieu of it. At the moment, there are far, and few details from Facebook on the exact functionalities of these new buttons, not to mention there have been prior instances of cry wolf rumors on Facebook launching new buttons. However, as it stands Facebook’s apparently innocuous button changes could send sizable tremors through the vast microcontent ecosystem on social media…where brands are big players.
Seriously, They Are Buttons! What Impact Could They Possibly Have?
1) Content Becomes A Choice
If the Follow and Like button are implemented simultaneously, in all likelihood Facebook users get to opt in to whether they want to subscribe to brand’s page content or not as opposed to it being the default option when a user clicks Like. The Like button, on the other hand, would take on a purely qualitative vestige – indicating just how many users, well, just like a particular brand.
In other words, users aren’t just going to click a button based on their affective leanings towards the brand, but there is a bit of cognitive work they have to do there – Do Facebook users want to see what the brand puts up on its Facebook page out on their newsfeed? Is the brand’s content worth it? What may be particularly interesting is that Facebook’s internal algorithm that so far has determined who sees what – may just have to take a back seat.
2) The Engagement See-Saw
The second huge repercussion is on brand reach and audience, which in turn affects the amount of engagement brand content receive. If users must actively choose to view content, they stand to be the only ones who can like, share or comment on a post when it appears on user newsfeeds. This development may also entail that since users did opt into receiving brand content, they may be a more involved audience than otherwise, resulting in engagement numbers increasing significantly.
There is a 3rd alternative – where both sets of users who Follow and Like a brand – receive a brand’s content as default. In which case, Follow numbers becomes a Key Performance Indicator of a brand’s content popularity – similar to how we eyeball the number of followers a Twitter user has to adjudge the same.
3) Trust Emerges As A New Metric:
Does every brand need a Facebook page? Absolutely! As they take the place of websites, Facebook pages have become the go-to index for brand information and news. The Review button brings a bit of Google to Facebook. Adds a bit of Yelp. And results (pun unintended) in becoming a curated fry-up of all the word of mouth a Facebook user needs to become so inclined to go to a place or use a service.
Truth is, no one really knows what is going to happen in the days ahead and what Facebook will roll with. But! Brands take notice – The microcontent highway is mutating. Microcontent is evolving and divesting itself of being ensconced within the brand’s personality, image and social media presence – to becoming in its own right, what a brand is well known for. Dear brands, Micro-content has come of age.