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Social Engagement Triggers: Why the Facebook Like Button is Important to You
Monday, April 25, 2011
You know the world works in mysterious ways. What's old is new again. Popularity seems to run in cycles. Take for instance a band who comes on the scene through years of playing clubs and opening for larger music acts then catches a break writes a great song and gains their own popularity in a relative short period of time. After hitting mainstream they become complacent and stick with their formula only to become passe and ignored by mainstream. Sometimes it's the curse of being too popular, or sometimes it is just not having the ability to roll with change, whatever the case, for better or worse, it is good to be popular.

The same holds true for websites. If your content is of high quality and your web properties are "popular", you should experience online success. However if your content is well... typical or has too much fluff and not enough stuff, people will not pay much attention to it. They sure as heck will not link to it and there is a good chance that the search engines will not rank it. Enter something that happened in early 2011. Facebook debuted their "Like" button. This is a huge step in determining the popularity of a website.

Ever since search engines started oh back about 15-16 years ago, and even as the Web began increasing in popularity, the search engines placed a lot of weight on links and link popularity. Now as you know it became very easy to manipulate link popularity and enjoy prime rankings and thereby high amounts of traffic from search. This continues to happen today with complex link schemas and the artificial inflating of link inventories. There are a lot of companies around the world who continue to drown your and my email inbox with link requests... yawn. However in 2010 a simple "Like" button from Facebook began to change things.

We all know how popular Facebook is, but just in case you didn't know about Facebook, here are some facts:
  • Facebook has more than 500 million active users
  • There are more than 250 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
  • People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day
  • The average user has 130 friends
  • The average Facebook user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
  • Google who? People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
So when Facebook launched their like button, they allowed their users to share their "opinion" with but a simple click. You want to know what is popular? See how many people on Facebook like something. You will get a truer sense of what people are buzzing about. Link popularity, in my opinion, is overrated. It can be gamed too easy. Having users appreciate your content through a "like" button is something not as easily gamed. In this day and age it is still a little difficult to clone yourself into multiple beings. Facebook likes are legit as they come from real people who have an affinity for a given item. If they truly like something whether it be a review of a restaurant, an experience with an airline or a link to a cool website, they will let us know about it.

So just like back in gym class when you had to choose sides for team events, the Facebook Like button has become an important mechanism for identifying popularity. Here is a marketing tip for both the near and long-term future. Your website need to feature social engagements triggers. What is a social engagement trigger you ask? Well let's define that here and now:

Social Engagement Trigger - any feature on a website that allows a visitor to share their opinion.

That is it plain and simple. People are busy and when they are looking for information or opinion they want it fast. Internet speed is tremendously quick, and social engagement triggers provide people with a quick opinion. In fact, if we use the Facebook Like button as an example, there are three key benefits for your website as it pertains to your content:

3 Benefits of Leveraging the Facebook Like Button

Perception - The number of Facebook "likes" that a piece of content has can create a definite perception about how great, or not so great, that piece of content may be. Adding a Facebook Like button to your website can be one of the single most important things you do as part of your online strategy in 2011. Whether it is for brand promotion, or just to promote your content, allowing people to "like" your content can be a major influencer in how future visitors to your site react.

Feedback - Facebook Likes can provide great feedback about your content. You might think that your content is the best out there, but ultimately your audience will decide if that is the case. You can have the most talented team of writers, but if people are not engaging with your content, then something is not right with your content. While your content may be well written, is it driving quality visitors to your site? Is this reflective in your bottom line?

Trust - nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd and having people like your content can go a long way in building trust with your audience. Sure not everybody clicks on the "like" buttons, but then again not everyone links to you either. Social engagement triggers, not links, will provide a more accurate assessment of how the audience feels about your website.

Social engagement signals are the way of the future. There is no easier social engagement signal than the Facebook Like button to implement or monitor.


How to get a Facebook Like Button
Facebook Like Button Celebrates First Birthday

Editor's Note: Ironically enough, we have temporarily had to remove our very our Facebook Like button as it was causing technical issues. Look for it to reappear soon.

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posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Monday, April 25, 2011  
  • At 6:48 PM, Anonymous White Label SEO said…

    Using a 'Like' button in Facebook gives a friendlier call to action. To Like a fan page means a connection forms between you and the page.

  • At 12:37 AM, Blogger Boyd J said…

    This is interesting. I can't imagine Facebook "Likes" to have that much of an effect to search engine algorithms, though, because then people would try to exploit the system.

    perth web design

  • At 9:59 PM, Blogger jonwilson said…

    Based on my experience, I reckon Google does give a very small value on Facebook likes. A couple hundred Likes will not ensure you PR or SERP ranking, but it helps.

    seo philippines

  • At 6:48 PM, Blogger iand said…

    Facebook's advertising is not all about the Like button, but it is an important part of the site.

    seo consultant

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