Facebook Like and Follow Buttons Confuse Users and Hurt Your Page


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Facebook's Like and Follow buttons are confusing and the Follow button doesn't do what most people would expect it to.

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Facebook Like and Follow Buttons Confuse Users and Hurt Your Page

  1. 1. Facebook’s Like and Follow Buttons Confuse Users and Hurt Pages hughbriss.com/facebooks-like-and-follow-buttons-confuse-users-and-hurt-pages/ Hugh Briss I like ice cream. I like it a lot, but I don’t have a reason to follow ice cream. I have some favorite brands and I might want to let Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream know I’m a fan of their product by liking their Facebook Page but does that mean I want to read what they post in my News Feed? Maybe, maybe not. Lots of people liked Jesus. They followed him everywhere because they wanted to hear what he had to say. They liked him and they followed him. Did some of them like what he had to say and yet didn’t want their friends or the Romans to know they liked him? You betcha and in that case it’s not likely they would have walked around wearing a sign that said “I Like Jesus”. How confusing must it be then to the average Facebook user to see both a Like and a Follow button? How much more confusing is it that the Follow button doesn’t do anything until after they’ve liked the Page? That means if someone wants to follow a Page and read that Page’s updates in their News Feed without letting their friends know… well, what it means is they can’t do it. After someone clicks the Like button the Follow button activates. Now the Page shows “Liked” and “Following”. What if they just wanted to give the Page a thumbs up but didn’t want to get the updates in their News Feed? Do most users know that if they click the Following button they’ll stop seeing the updates but will still Like the Page? I doubt it. And if they want to follow the Page without publicly showing
  2. 2. they like the Page they’ll probably unlike the Page after the Following button shows up but when they do the Following button reverts and they’re back where they started before they liked the Page in the first place. The whole process doesn’t even make sense. Besides the confusion the buttons cause users, what does this mean for our Pages? Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what stories the users are most likely to find interesting and hides the rest. In order for your Page’s updates to be shown to most of your fans those fans need to engage with your content on a regular basis. The more highly-engaged fans your Page has, the higher the reach will be. But, if your Page has lots of likes from people who just wanted to give you a thumbs up but who never like, comment or share your content, your reach is going to suffer. The higher the percentage of non engaged fans you Page has, the lower your reach is going to be. There are two options that make more sense than the current setup. First, keep the two buttons but let users click the Follow button without needing to click the Like button. If they don’t want to publicly admit they like the Page they can still Follow the Page and read the updates in their News Feed. The second option is to get rid of the Like button and just use Follow. Google+ uses a Follow button on their business Pages but doesn’t also have a Like button. My preference would be to have both but let the Like button only register a like, as in a thumbs up. They can show the number of Likes on the Page as they do now so people can see how many people gave that brand or person a thumbs up. Then the Follow button should be activated so that it can be used independently of the Like button and the number of Followers should be shown as a separate number from the Likes. Users can then choose to Like us just to give us a thumbs up; Follow us to get our content in their News Feed; or Like and Follow us if they want to do both.