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I Don’t Like You That Way: What A Facebook Like Really Means
By: Kimberly Shrack
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News flash: having a Facebook page does not count as a social media strategy. Especially when it comes to millennials. For every PR pro that has found themselves banging their heads against the wall trying to explain that having a Facebook brand page isn’t the be-all, end-all to reaching that coveted age group, there is now some data to back it up. And it confirms what lots of us have always suspected: Facebook brand pages — and “likes” — may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
 
A study presented at the 15th Annual International Public Relations Research Conference produced an infographic on how millennials interact with Facebook brand pages that has been the focus of umpteen PR/social media blog posts. These discussions have focused on that most sought-after metric: the Facebook “like.” This study outlines why millennials “like” brand pages, the types of brands they like, why they un-like pages, etc. But so far, no one (that I have seen!) has discussed this interesting finding: while 75% of millennials surveyed have “liked” an organization’s Facebook fan page, 69% reported they rarely or never visit a brand’s Facebook fan page.
 
This begs the question: if 75% of millennials “like” brand pages, but 69% are rarely visiting these pages, how much value does the “like” really have? According to these results, not much. Just because a Facebook user “likes” your brand, doesn’t mean you are actually engaging them — they could “like” your page to enter a brand-sponsored contest, and never visit again. And to make matters worse, retention on these “likes” is not great. Of those surveyed, 42% reported “un-liking” a brand page.
 
So if the “like” doesn’t equate to greater engagement or higher volume of page visits, what is it good for? To be fair, right now it’s the best we have for measuring how users are interacting with Facebook brand pages. And I don’t want to be down on the “like” — it is, after all, a good way for Facebook users to express their loyalty to a brand, and follow their posts and status updates. And while they may not be visiting their pages often, they may still be reading and reacting to brands’ posts in their news feeds. My point is that we should encourage our clients not to put too much emphasis on the “like” — because, according to this study, liking does not equate to caring.


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About the Author
Kimberly Shrack is a PR pro based in Philadelphia, specializing in writing and content development. She has worked in communication for a variety of industries including technology, travel, art, and healthcare. Follow her on Twitter at @kjshrack.
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