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Thursday, May 1, 2014

On social media, your LIKE is a vote: Why social media engagement and interaction matters

Now that social media, to include: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many others has become a part of most peoples’ daily lives, it is important to understand how and why things work. I want to discuss the often hated, much maligned, and almost universally misunderstood social media “LIKE” and why it matters so much. What’s in a social media “LIKE”? Much more than you might think!

Think of it this way, when you “LIKE” or share, or post a comment on social media, THAT is a vote. The more items of content you “LIKE” or vote for, the more frequently that type of content will show up in your feed. That’s how it works. It doesn’t necessarily mean you actually “LIKE” it, for instance, when someone writes a post that says their cat died. Your “LIKE” shows solidarity and support for that person, not a condemnation of their cat.

That said, many people simply don’t get the concept of your “LIKE” being a vote. They will happily brag:
“I don’t “LIKE” anything on Facebook.”
“I am not going to be a part of the “LIKE” culture of social media.”
“I don’t understand the value of hashtags, so I don’t use them.” 

“LIKING” or sharing isn’t just about giving recognition or affirmation, although sometimes that is nice. The more you “LIKE” something or someone, the more that content will show up in your feed. And isn’t that a good thing? You certainly wouldn’t want to see things you hadn’t liked!
Engagement  really is the whole point of social media, whether it is with family and friends, or if you are using it for business, networking, or crowd-sourcing. It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason, you’re supposed to be… well, sociable. If you don’t want to interact, perhaps reading a newspaper is a better fit. 

Facebook is now strongly discouraging “LIKE” baiting. You know, those UBER annoying posts, usually an adorable picture of an impossibly sweet animal that says, “How many likes can this little poopsie get?”  That’s just dumb. If it is cute, millions of people will “LIKE” it. You don’t have to beg or manipulate to get “LIKES” if the content is appealing and fresh. 

                                                    How many "LIKES" for this little guy? 

Images are a HUGE hit right now. (More on this topic later.) Instagram is a prime example of how popular images are. There is virtually no content other than the visual image. Instagram “LIKES” are almost purely about the photo. If you “LIKE” or share an image, it has the potential to go viral. 

Why are images so popular and bring so many “LIKES”? Because people are basically lazy, and images are a quick and easy means to illicit a response- potentially positive OR negative.  I have included a list of images to avoid posting on social media. We’ve all seen them, and unfortunately, they often get a lot of “LIKES” and attention. 

 1. Photos of you and/or your friends drinking or drunk.

2. Injuries (including really graphic wounds.)

3. Illegal activities (fill in the blank.)

4. Bare body parts (the ones that are typically covered up in work attire.)

5. Revenge pics of spouses, exes, or friends (those unflattering photos NO ONE wants to see.)
Understanding the power of “LIKE” on social media is critical in order to see more of the things you enjoy. So use your power to improve and validate the things you want to see, the people you enjoy, the images that appeal to you, and basically become more involved and engaged with people and brands you want to interact with!