Social recommendations are becoming an increasingly important factor when consumers decide where to click, and a new "popularity engine" lets online shoppers search Likes directly.

Likester is something between a social network and a search engine – it offers a searchable database of what social users Like on Facebook. The startup could be valuable for well-Liked brands by pushing them to the top of Likester results. lets users sign in through Facebook, and it shows them which Facebook Pages are most popular among their friends. Users can also manage their own Likes, see which Pages are trending and discover the most popular brand Pages in their locations. (This last feature should be of interest to marketers because, as Brafton has reported, Facebook is becoming an increasingly important tool for consumers researching local businesses.)

At press time, Likester claims to have just under 2,000 users. Its founder, Kevin McCarthy, thinks it will pick up among Facebook users because of the value it offers consumers who want to keep up with what their friends are into. McCarthy told that “Facebook doesn't show [users] the whole picture.”

He says, “[If you] just view your news feed every day, you'll never see the totality of all of your friends' Likes (some are never shown to you).”

It remains to be seen whether Likester will take off, but the power of social recommendations among online shoppers is increasingly clear. Investing in social content is key to catching Likes and making brands visible on Facebook; as Brafton has reported, 38 percent of Facebook users un-Like a brand when the content offered becomes repetitive or boring.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.