On its surface, Facebook seems incredibly simple. Likes and friends and walls and albums all appear to explain themselves. And yet you scratch the surface just a tiny bit, and things immediately get complicated. And if your company runs a Facebook page, things get even more complicated. Who is this sea of people who "like" your page or your content? And how on earth do you channel that enthusiasm?
This useful infographic from Moontoast--a company that makes e-commerce platforms for Facebook pages--lays out some of the more subtle aspects of the entire "like" dynamic. It lays bare the different species of fan, and concludes that each one should be approached with a slightly different pitch in mind.
This becomes particularly clear when you chart the different ways that a fan can like you. For one, they can like a page on your site (this article, for example). Or they can actually like your Facebook page. Or they can even log onto your page via Facebook Connect. As Moontoast points out, there's a vast gulf between each of these levels of engagement and each one allows a company to reach someone in a different way:[Click to view larger]
Given all that information, it makes absolute sense that you'd engage with various rungs of fans in different ways. There could be, for example, different levels of content and special offers you award each type of fan. The trick, of course, lies in the service design: How do you design your programs so that it's totally clear that the user will be rewarded for engaging with your page more intensely?
If these rewards don't feel focused or personal enough, then you're just shouting into the wind (after all, how many times have you been bombarded with an offer that was just a lame attempt to hook you for your personal info?). With all this in mind, it's surprising that there aren't more subtle ways to build reward systems into the like process. For example, let's say you're Target. And let's say that you unveil a new marketing campaign. If some people like your commercials, then the more people they expose you to via their Facebook wall, the more rewards they should get. And likewise, if they like a product on your site, leading to sales among their friends, they should get even more rewards. The customer could get periodic updates saying things like "5 people in your network also liked this thing, therefore you get a $10 coupon!" In turn, that stream of information might drive that consumer to more and more engagement over time. And you know what? I'll bet Facebook could charge a hefty premium to companies for access to that API.
Anyway! There's your free idea of the day, Facebook and brand marketers. Let's get back to the infographic. Most of the information above is presented in this handy dandy summary chart:[Click to view larger]
You'll notice that the nugget tossed in there right at the bottom is something that we all take for granted: The winnowing of stories that appear in your Top News feed on Facebook. Before displaying a post in your feed, the algorithm behind it takes into account how close you are with the original poster, how much the actual post gets liked, and the time since it was posted.
Given all the attention lavished on Google's Page Rank algorithm, it's sort of a wonder that more attention isn't paid to Facebook's Edge Rank. After all, that's the real secret sauce for Facebook and the single thing that can decide whether your page is merely liked--or loved.