Facebook is testing removing “Page Likes” but before you start panicking, let’s look at the pros and cons of this possible reality.
Page Likes are slightly different from what they used to be in the good old days when Facebook’s organic reach was considerably higher than current 0.5% (or less) and Facebook’s algorithm way more forgiving. Gone are the days when having 10 Page Likes meant you would actually reach 10 (or more) people. The reduction of the organic reach and the raise of paid media reduced the importance of those little numbers next to your profile. Don’t misunderstand, Page Likes still carry value and depending on your objectives, they are still a useful metric but they are not THE metric. The main pitfall of those thumbs-ups is the incredible focus many businesses put on them. It’s shocking that we still encounter people who talk about social media strategy and KPIs in terms of likes.
Don’t look at the quantity of Page Likes, look at the quality of your audience.
If you have read any of our blogs, you might know about the lovely group of people we call ‘compers’ – in other words, people who enter completions on your page but have ZERO loyalty towards your proposition/product. One of the most common mechanics to drive Page Likes is to run a competition asking for Likes (which is against Facebook rules actually). While this method produces some nice vanity numbers and boosts engagement of the page, unless executed properly (using paid targeting to attract the audience you want), you will end up with an audience of compers that are not likely to buy anything from you or engage with any of your future non-competition content. And that’s where the problem starts.
We have had many clients coming to us, struggling to get engagement on their pages just because they build their Facebook audience with focus on quantity (hello compers) and not quality (bye bye customers). If your biggest and most engaged audience is interested in winning prizes only, they will never interact with anything else you have to say. They will never click on that link. They will never tell about your product to their friends. You wasted your efforts on a number that doesn’t have any impact on your brand.
Stay true to your brand. Build your community on shared values and everything else will follow.
Plus, if you are after meaningful numbers, you can run a paid campaign that gives your brand visibility and SMART metrics (e.i.conversions) from the right people – your customers.
But let’s be honest, if people/brands think that Page Likes are the holy grail of everything, it’s is mostly because of ‘social media gurus’ who might have sold them on the idea somewhere along their digital journey. Throughout my career, I have seen many social media professionals use this metric as they couldn’t be bothered (mainly due to lack of time, resources, energy, or support) to go after other metrics and properly educate businesses on what data is important for their business strategy and what is not. It’s not really a con, but here you go.
I’m not saying changing perceptions is easy. But it’s something everyone in the digital industry must try to do. For what it’s worth, we do it daily and we are happy to help.
— Buffer (@buffer) October 23, 2016