The Power of the Humble "Like" Button

SPeterson
Steve Peterson Marketing Director, Pinnacle Displays

Posted on May 4th 2014

The Power of the Humble "Like" Button

The Power of the Like ButtonDo you remember the 1970's Life breakfast cereal TV commercial with cute little Mikey, and the catch phrase "He Likes it. Mikey likes it!" Well, not only is it great to be liked, but one of the most powerful features of social media is the "like" button, and what you can learn from it. Last week I wrote a post here at Social Media Today titled "A Bold Prediction on the Future of Social Media Marketing." The post was inspired by my eleven-year old daughter telling me "Facebook is for grandmas", and in the post I predicted the future of social media is more in people sharing pictures and videos instead of words and traditional articles. To be honest, the post was brief, and more than a bit tongue-in-cheek. Then a funny thing happened. Over the past week, each day the post has gotten more and more likes, and now today the post has 65 likes! Hey Mikey, the readers like it!

I'm more than a little surprised (and I'm trying to not also be a bit disgruntled about my other non-liked articles). I wrote (what I thought was) an important post about Protecting Your Website Email Address From Spambots, and the post got a whopping zero likes... I wrote another (what I thought was) important post about What You Should Know About the Hearbleed Security bug, arguably the biggest potential security breach in the internet's history ever, and it got a whopping one like. Then my quick humorous post on the future of social media marketing gets 65 likes??? To put it in perspective, I checked the top five most-read articles listed in Social Media Marketing's weekly newsletter (May 1), and their recorded like records were 14, 10, 11, 7, and 11 likes.  Not to be cocky (well, ok, to be a little cocky), my post's like record ain't too shabby!

The humble little "like" button is a simple but powerful way to judge if people like your content. Then you can give them more of what they like, and stop giving them stuff they don't like (even if you think or know it's good for them!).

But what was it about my post on the future of social media that attracted so many likes?

The post mentioned that my daughter and her friends have no interest in Facebook and are only interested in Instagram (and apparently it could be a real problem for Facebook). Was it the anti-Facebook crowd liking my post?

The post also linked to a short youtube clip of a young Dustin Hoffman in 1967 being told "the future is plastics!" Is it Dustin Hoffman groupies coming out of the woodwork and liking the post?

The post also mentioned how unknown Jen Selter became famous and got 2.6 million followers on Instagram with a selfie of her butt in form-fitting yoga pants. Are the likes coming from lecherous appreciative yoga pants fans?

Or was the post so well liked because of my prediction, that the future of social media is in pictures (and video). While I made the prediction somewhat lightly, and mentioned the current narcissistic selfie fad (that could be here to stay), the truth is that there is something to it. I work in the trade show industry (trade show displays specifically), and have always preached one of the most important aspects of a successful trade show booth design is starting your graphic design with a big attention-grabbing background image. Pictures matter! And interestingly enough, on the subject of promoting online content sharing, I just saw a study this week that found that adding even just one picture to an article or blog post can double the amount it gets shared (at least in terms of Facebook shares). The same study found that infographics (a blending of pictures and short facts with minimal words) were the most shared content in the study (and there's a great post on Social Media Today this week about making infographics). So I do believe, that selfies aren't just a passing fad, and that social media will become even more picture and video driven in the future. Is that (my prediction) what people liked about the article?

In the end, while "likes" are great feedback (and sure feel good), they aren't the same as getting comments. Comments can tell you what people like about something, while just getting likes really can't. Comments take a more effort than clicking the like button, and sadly, my well-liked post hasn't gotten any comments... So if you're one of the sixty-five readers who liked my previous post, leave a comment and say why you liked it... even if it is because you're a closet Dustin Hoffman fan, or you just can't get enough of Jen Selter's butt. Let me, and us, know, why some articles here at Social Media Today are liked, so we can learn what the masses want!

SPeterson

Steve Peterson

Marketing Director, Pinnacle Displays

Steve Peterson is the marketing director for Pinnacle Displays, and also contributes at the Institute for Trade Show Marketing Excellence.

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