Should you care about Facebook page likes?

A topic that is constantly debated in internet marketing is whether or not you should care about Facebook page likes. The answer unsurprisingly is not clear-cut. Like many things in marketing, it depends.

Facebook is Always Changing

The ever-changing Facebook algorithm requires businesses to rethink their content strategies on an on-going basis. What worked to get attention yesterday, may not work as well or at all today.

Facebook Post Organic Reach is Declining

Organic page reach refers to the number of people who like your Facebook page that see your post after it has been published to your page. Non-organic page reach comes from paid advertising such as turning a page post into a Facebook Ad. Online marketing site Digiday reports that some pages are experiencing organic page post reach as low as 2%. What does this mean for you?

  • Well for starters, you’ll have to embrace the pay to play game Facebook is running. If your content is engaging your customer base, you’ll see higher organic reach, but overall, not near the levels businesses enjoyed a few years ago. In order for a large number of people to see the post, you’ll have to promote the post as an ad. Don’t do this through the “Boost” button though! We’ll cover why in another blog post.
  • All the time an effort you’re putting into page posts needs to be carefully considered given how much reach a post gets. Reach will depend on shares more so than visibility by your page audience.
  • Reach is partly dependent on engagement. If your audience doesn’t respond to posts, Facebook is less likely to place your content in your audience’s newsfeed. Over time your reach will continue to decline unless your audience engagement changes in a meaningful way. Facebook doesn’t want to lose users who become annoyed through irrelevant content.

Social Proof Matters

On a positive note, we are conditioned to trust brands through social proof. A high number of Facebook page likes is a good indicator of a good business for consumers and one that is “popular”. Note, there is no recency metric for Facebook page likes, so depending on how your audience feels about you, the number will go up or down, but is not based on a timeframe. A steady increase is a increase in brand equity.

Making Decisions Based On Data

The reactions your posts receive can help you run your business. A post with abnormally high engagement is a good indicator that you found something that resonates with your audience. That can be a new product or service. Posts that serve as announcements will help predict the success of something new, like online ordering or a loyalty program. Regardless of reach, your sample size of audience reached will provide valuable data.

This engagement also helps identify what content can be turned into an ad to attract new customers. For instance, a restaurant posting about a promotion for free hot wings who sees a lot of likes and shares on the post might want to convert the post into an ad to attract similar customers who would be as enthusiastic about the wings as current customers. A side benefit fo this is that a post, that serves as an ad will also have a high number of likes and shares that add to social proof on your page.

Do What Facebook Wants

Earlier this year, Facebook announced the increasing importance of video. As such ads with video tend to cost less, posts with videos may receive more reach and most notably, businesses who embrace Facebook Live will see an immediate benefit the minute they go live.

When you go live, Facebook will send a notification to your Facebook page subscribers (those who like it) letting them know you are live. Once your audience is viewing your livestream, they can share it and invite it their friends to join in and watch. This can help grow your audience (facebook page likes) and help build your brand.

To Care or Not to Care About Facebook Page Likes

Likes can’t be monetized directly and they don’t have inherent value. That said, if you embrace video and carefully analyze the engagement from your audience when you post content you can find tremendous value. Getting attention and providing value go hand in hand. Businesses shouldn’t post just for the sake of posting. Engage your audience with questions, contests, sneak peaks of something new you’re developing…anything to keep them interested and involved in a conversation with you.

At the end of the day, it’s your relationships and your conversations that provide value for your business and customers alike. Don’t focus on your next dollar with every post and instead figure out ways to talk with your customers and truly connect with them. A Facebook page like is a vote of confidence, but isn’t the end goal. Long-term relationships that result in loyal repeat business with satisfied customers will ensure you are in business for many years to come.

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