Who hasn’t felt that “warm fuzzy feeling” when someone says they like you? The glow can last for minutes, or even a hour or so. Yet,when someone compliments you online, or “likes” your Facebook page, that warm fuzzy feeling can last for weeks. What’s more, that “like” can bring you business for months and years to come.
What is a like really worth to your business?
Facebook users collect likes like kids collect Legos and Pokemon cards. But, do all those likes really matter? Yes and no. If the likes are coming from click farms and purchased lists just to drive your numbers up, then no. If the likes are coming from people who bought something from you, engaged with you, or subscribed to your content, then yes. They matter a lot.
The trick is in determining who you genuinely attract and why. Social media experts and analysts may quibble and engage in the equivalent of an online, statistical food fight, throwing numbers back and forth at each other in blog posts and articles, but there’s no doubt that a well-liked Facebook page is a great way to gain major brand exposure. Not only can you get the exposure you crave, you can cultivate relationships with targeted customers and shape your brand.
Just imagine the brands you like on Facebook. Don’t they seem more attractive when they have a large number of real likes? As you participate in their community, it feels to be involved with something that other like-minded individuals enjoy. The same thing happens on your page, with real likes of course.
Facebook is the eight-ton social media gorilla when it comes to the size of its social media platform. According to TheNextWeb, in 2014 Facebook had 1.23 billion monthly active users (MAUs). But, wait. According to ALLFacebook 2012, five new profiles are created every second, so that number has gone up considerably in the last three years. Nonetheless, don’t get too excited. According to CNN, there are 83 million fake profiles among those billions of monthly users.
Fake or not, there are still a lot of potential consumers among the fakes. Not all of those fake profiles are catfishers trolling for love. Social media professionals doing testing and research, and people segmenting their Facebook use may create multiple accounts as well.
It’s not your likes, but your fan engagement that matters
When it comes to gauging which stats really matter, don’t linger over the number of likes, but head straight to the “ People Talking About This” numbers. Engagement with your fans is more valuable than likes. Likes are the equivalent of the “Beauty Queen Wave” as people pass by your content. “People talking about this” numbers are the people who stop to start a conversation with or about you. And, what you really want is conversation and engagement.
It’s those conversations and the engagement with your customers, fans and people who have sought out your content that will drive loyalty, sales, and business. On social media that engagement is respect, and as we all know, it’s better to be respected than liked — or at least more profitable.
Facebook likes are a gateway, not a destination
When Facebook first moved from being encouraging users to engaging with each other, to businesses engaging with customers, gaining likes was one of the main goals. In fact, Facebook has always been centered around the iconic like and the goal of getting higher numbers of likes.
However, as Facebook improves its advertising features, and focuses on engagement and reach rather than the number of thumbs up on a page, the importance of the number of likes is changing. They still serve a purpose, but just a different kind of purpose. The goal of likes now is to tell you what kind of content your readers are drawn to so you can provide more of that content in order to attract more readers. Likes are no longer a simple popularity contest. They’re the bellwether of consumer desire.
How likes work
Likes are fickle, fans are not. A like won’t necessarily show up your friends’ News Feeds like a comment or a Page post might. Likes, therefore, rarely directly affect your reach, as a user’s friends won’t necessarily see the like activity.
Build high-quality fans
No matter who debates the like question, the bottom line is, Facebook is huge. Plus, its sheer size in comparison with all other social media sites, dominates consumer attention. Where else can you find a long-forgotten childhood friend, watch funny cat videos, argue politics and discover the best buys from every retailer, restaurant and realtor online? Facebook is a buyer’s buffet and that’s not going to change any time soon.
So how do you build your fan base, your like and your followers? It’s simple. You engage them. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Periscope or Facebook having that conversation with your followers is the single most critical thing you can do to build a fanbase and followers.
The more loyal, engaged followers, the bigger the reach and the impact you and your company, brand or product will have. You engage people with content, customer service and conversation. That means being and staying active every day. If you don’t give your followers and fans your attention, they’ll find someone who will.
Statistically, the percentage of reach is going down as more companies, people and pages appear. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Facebook’s popularity is declining. It just means there’s more competition for people’s attention. Not only are there more people on Facebook, but there are also more brands, products, companies and ads.
Spend some time online reading the arguments for and against likes. What you’ll learn is that Facebook likes are still the best way of building up an audience. Your strategy should look something like this:
- Provide relevant, unique, enticing content
- Engage with your readers when they comment
- Build up your likes
- Continue to engage
- Continue to provide quality content
Remember, likes are the gateway, engagement is the goal. So, how will you engage your followers today?