Facebook: To Like or Not To Like?

As most of us are probably aware, Facebook, along with a myriad of other changes, took away the “Become A Fan” functionality and renamed it “Like.” Of course, “Like” existed before, but it was something you could do in response to an action. Now, rather than becoming a fan of some business or celebrity, you simply “Like” them.

This became a talking point for us at a meeting last week when we began discussing the semantics of the word “Like.” When you became a fan of a page, you were then a fan that had “fanned” the page. See how that works? However, with the “Like” button, once you have liked the page, do you then become a “liker?” That seems awkward. Not to mention how desperate it sounds to go around asking people to “Please Like Us.”

That’s when we decided to turn to you, our readers, and see if anyone had any insight as to what we should call these people formerly known as fans. We’re having a bit of trouble with “Likers,” and we are hoping that, through our crowdsourced powers combined, we can come up with something a little more elegant.

Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section!
 

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29 Comments
  • Jennifer
    Posted at 15:26h, 11 May

    Personally, I still refer to them as “fans.” I’ve seen other small companies do the same. You are right, “likers” is just…lame.

  • Jeni
    Posted at 15:56h, 11 May

    An admirer?

  • glassesgeek
    Posted at 16:31h, 11 May

    After several awkward meetings and pauses before saying “Likers,” we’ve decided to just keep calling them fans 😛

  • April Whitlock
    Posted at 17:26h, 11 May

    We are also still calling them fans or just using verbiage like “follow us on Facebook.” It is all very Sally Field-ish – “You like me, you really like me.”

  • Kirsten Hamstra
    Posted at 17:30h, 11 May

    Ditto! We’re continuing to call them fans because “likers” just sounds wrong 🙂

  • Jim Tobin
    Posted at 17:35h, 11 May

    That’s one possibility, Ryan. Way better than “Likers” in my book.

  • Matthew Cortellesi
    Posted at 17:47h, 11 May

    they will always be “fans”…just like followers of barry manilow will always be called “fanilows”

  • Jim Tobin
    Posted at 17:55h, 11 May

    I’ve been thinking about “Insiders” but that will only work well in certain situations I think…

  • Jim Tobin
    Posted at 18:04h, 11 May

    I asked the question on Facebook too. Suggestions so far include “Followers” and “Champions.”

  • Elise
    Posted at 18:12h, 11 May

    Sticking with “fans.” Technically if you “like” something, you are also a “fan” of it.

  • Jennifer T
    Posted at 18:13h, 11 May

    We still usually refer to them as fans, except for some tongue-in-cheek references to “Likers”. I actually enjoy referring to “Likers”, if only to mock Facebook a bit.

  • Karl Sakas
    Posted at 18:46h, 11 May

    I prefer “Followers,” but this really seems to depend on how much people care about the entity behind the Page. For instance, sports teams (the Durham Bulls), popular consumer brands (Apple), and responsive B2B brands (37signals) truly have rabid “fans.”

    But I suspect most people aren’t that engaged with most companies. For example, is someone really a “fan” of SKF, the ball-bearing manufacturer?

  • Jennifer T
    Posted at 19:46h, 11 May

    I stumbled upon Facebook’s own recommendation for this tricky wording today:

    “When inviting users to like your Page, say ‘like our Page’ or ‘become a fan by clicking Like on our Page’.” http://www.facebook.com/#!/brandpermissions/

  • Morgan Siem
    Posted at 20:59h, 11 May

    I keep coming across this awkward dilemma, too. I still use “fans” or I add in two words and say, “people who ‘like.'”

  • Jay Dolan
    Posted at 21:46h, 11 May

    I stick with fans. Facebook has too many meanings with the word like now.

  • Cole Watts
    Posted at 03:18h, 12 May

    I have to agree with Karl, I prefer the term “followers” even though it relates more to Twitter than Facebook.

  • Allen - Personalbrander
    Posted at 13:14h, 12 May

    I think there should be some categorization of these terms without halting them as they differs from one community to others!

  • marsattacks
    Posted at 16:32h, 12 May

    Followers, it keeps the alliteration and it consolidates a social media term…

    Likers is Lame

    “Fans” = delusions of grandeur for all except stars and celebrities; company/brand strops notwithstanding…

  • Katy D.
    Posted at 19:34h, 13 May

    I’ve been trying and trying to come up with a good “like” pun to use, but unfortunately, the word doesn’t lend itself well. “Iglikers?” No. See what I mean?

    I think Facebook “connections” could work – after all, you’re basically creating a network of people who want to interact with you, and it’s distinct from Twitter “followers.”

  • facebook-40511955
    Posted at 13:25h, 14 May

    Haha, I was discussing the same thing with some friends. There’s just no good way to refer to the body of individuals who have already “liked” your Page.

    They’ve crippled their terms. It’s like in the english language, there’s no single way to say “you all” (minus southern abbreviations), yet in others, you can effectively say “yous”.

    I still call them fans. I’d be surprised to see if search terms even switch from “fan pages” to “like pages” or similar to see if it’s getting any market traction.

  • Maguire09
    Posted at 04:04h, 17 May

    I think the like button makes a bit more sense. Becoming a fan was a bit too strong of a statement for many people, so liking something allows you to be more of a “Follower”. People who “Like” a site now, are saying that they enjoy a band or enjoy a product, whatever it may be, but aren’t announcing to everyone that they are a full out fan. It leaves room for ambiguity and less commitment. Those who secretly were fans of something before, but felt they might be judged by friends are now able to follow a group or product they really like without exposing themselves.

    Here is an interview series of social media specialists that you also might enjoy.
    http://www.ourblook.com/topic/social_media.html

  • Jed Singer
    Posted at 17:42h, 19 May

    They’re still called Fans in Facebook’s back-end Insights for page managers, so I feel like “fans” is appropriate. I’ve also blogged about the semantical nightmare Facebook has gotten itself into, but hey, it’s our job to dig them out right? haha

  • Jed Singer
    Posted at 17:43h, 19 May

    They’re still called Fans in Facebook’s back-end Insights for page managers, so I feel like “fans” is appropriate. I’ve also blogged about the semantical nightmare Facebook has gotten itself into, but hey, it’s our job to dig them out right? haha

  • olivia hayes
    Posted at 19:40h, 20 May

    Agreed! I wonder what their thoughts were on all of this in their planning meetings…

  • antoniamatthews
    Posted at 20:18h, 20 May

    I have to say that I prefer ‘followers’ – for all of the reasons that Karl mentions above. ‘Fan’ seems to denote a heavier level of engagement with a brand/company/celebrity page than the average ‘liker’ probably intended when they chose to like the page.

  • Jed Singer
    Posted at 13:03h, 21 May

    Ha yeah. It’s like if Burger King one day said, “let’s change the name of everything on the menu to ‘small fries,’ it’ll increase our total orders orders with no foreseeable confusion!”

  • Chris Jones
    Posted at 18:47h, 07 June

    I think they’re still fans. Fans who like things.

  • Lili
    Posted at 14:59h, 28 June

    A very interesting post!

    I have recently seen a related post about Facebook marketing at http://www.innovatrs.com/blog/facebook-marketing/ on how to use Facebook marketing has changed and how to use it as a part of your marketing strategy.

  • mbansal14
    Posted at 12:01h, 06 October

    People who DO NOT care about you!

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