Consumer

To Like Or Not To Like, Experts Weigh In

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Like Button (CBS4)

Like Button (CBS4)

Healthy Living

MIAMI (CBS4) – Lately, it seems, the click of the “Like” button has become a hot-button issue among social media users.

Consider Annie Pace Scranton and her friend Chris Crater, both are avid Facebook users, but when it comes to when to click the “Like” button their opinions vary.

“My like is hard to get. When I like, I want it to really mean something,” Crater said.

Scranton said she clicks the “Like” button with more frequency.

“And I would say that I like things probably about once an hour. Is that too much?”

Not at all for the advertisers who have created pages for their products with the hopes of growing the number of “fans” who “Like” them.

Bart Steiner, CEO of the marketing firm Bulbstorm, said companies recognize the power of the “thumbs up” because it increases the list of potential customers who are often rewarded for their click.

“Liking has become the 21st century bumper sticker. It’s kind of your way to show your identity and say, ‘Hey I like this brand’, ” Steiner said. “Virtually every brand that’s been on Facebook for a while has done some kind of sweepstakes.”

Those sweepstakes include everything from luxury vacations and fine jewelry to high-tech electronics for simply clicking “Like.”

“Offers, discounts or access to unique information or you can give your feedback to a brand for the first time and have them really be able to listen to it,” Steiner said.

But there are potential drawbacks of over-clicking.

“Consumer beware, when you “Like” a brand, you might be used as part of an advertising campaign,” Steiner said.

It means that a sign of support, such as a simple Facebook “Like,” may appear in a brand sponsored ad for all to see. In some cases, Facebook has developed a new product called sponsored stories where a person’s picture and name could appear on top of an ad.

“The data shows that very often those can be two or more times as effective as an advertising medium. Because by putting my likeness there, they’ve essentially given my endorsement,” Steiner said.

Craig Spiezle of the Online Trust Alliance said privacy is also an issue because many of these “likes” are connected to apps that ask for personal information.

“How is that data being used? How can you delete it? How long is it kept? And perhaps one of the most important things, who’s it shared with?” Spiezle said.

For added protection, experts say, read before you click especially the privacy policies.

“They may not be set or optimized for privacy settings by default,” Spiezle said.

For the friends who are at odds over how often they click “Like,” there’s one thing they can agree on.

“Facebook rules,” Scranton said.

Facebook said they respect customer privacy and while you may not be able to opt-out of the “sponsored stories” ad campaigns, you can check your Facebook activity log to ensure the ads are shared with a limited number of people.

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