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In the world of Facebook, the “Like” button has bestowed upon us a new likeness. In addition to several new, subtle amenities such as the ability to edit your own posts, receive notifications, and having statuses and links shared to others’ networks, Facebook is allowing users to subscribe through business opportunities and products through a “Want” button. This button is currently in a test phase primarily as a means of sharing products you may be interested in buying in the near future with your friends.
The “Want” app will allow for companies to collect data regarding member interest groups, acting as a makeshift focus group. Many are seeing this as another step in Facebook’s competition against Google. According to Inside Facebook, “Just as the ‘Like’ button allowed Facebook to collect massive amounts of data about users’ interests, the ‘Want’ button could be a key way for the social network to collect desire-based data. Many of these sites are already using the ‘Like’ button, but ‘Liking’ a product could mean users already have it or that they are interested in getting it. Being able to distinguish between these groups of people and target ads to either one could be very powerful for advertisers and help make Facebook a stronger competitor to Google AdWords.”
Whether this feature will become a great asset to business analytics or a nuisance, time will tell. But if there’s one thing to be learned from the abundance of liking on Facebook, it still bears a cloud of superficiality. A like on Facebook is a simple click of the mouse, and a want will only be the same. There’s no denying that this data will prove useful for businesses trying to measure and meet their demands, but it still won’t measure up to the business of keeping good customer service. While this may create convenience and bridge certain communicative gaps between businesses and customers, it still holds no bearing on how businesses do what they do best: creating customer attraction and “wants”, maintaining a solid brand and image, offering an 800 toll free number service, and answering customer concerns with availability for direct engagement.
Give Facebook credit—they’ve kept billions of people connected and coming back, poking and liking, tagging and noting like it’s nobody’s business. Now whether they can bring business to you is another thing, but in the end, keeping the business is always entirely up to you. The first one to “Like” your business and “Want” your products will always be you.