Facebook swaps fans for likes

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Facebook have put a stop to becoming a fan of pages and expanded their ‘like’ feature. Users were able to like things in friends status’ before but they can also now say that they like a page or an ad on Facebook as well as all across the web.

Why have they done this? Well, Facebook say it’s less of a big deal to say you like something than to become a fan of it so they’re saying it will make it easier for advertisers looking to build their fan bases. The ‘like’ button in Facebook works in the same way as ‘become a fan’ as your friends will see that you like the page and you will be listed on that page as a liker.

This extends outside the walled garden of Facebook though. They have released the code to include a like button on any page that you wish. This will allow Facebook to pull more content into their site and extend their influence across the web.

The idea isn’t brand new. Digg and Stumbleupon are based around liking a page, image, video etc and sharing it with people. What makes It more of a big deal is the number of active users Facebook has. With 400 million users and 200 million logging in every day that’s a lot of like potential. Whereas Digg tried keeping hold of its users with its DiggBar the like button is far less intrusive to the user experience. That said Facebook do seem to have a toolbar of their own in development.

So what does this mean for you as a website owner? You can now include the like button code to add the button to a page on your site. When someone that is logged into Facebook visits your page they will be able to see if any of their friends like it or how many people in general like it. If you are considering going to a restaurant and on it’s website you see that a couple of your friends have hit the like button that’s the kind of recommendation you’re more likely to trust.

When you add in your pages details to get the code you are presented with three colour options: light, dark and evil so it looks like Facebook do have a sense of humour after all. There is also the option of integrating your pages into the social graph using Facebooks open graph protocol. This means that you can have your page show up in Facebook search results and newsfeeds and users can interact with it in the same way they do with Facebook pages. To have your pages participate you will need to add some meta data to your pages code.

How can this help your internet marketing? It’s another way of syndicating your content and getting it to as many Facebook users as possible. The links you get from Facebook are nofollow so they will not count towards improving your Google rankings but they are still a great way to get some traffic for your site.

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