Not long ago, when I was still working full time with an agency, I was asked to take over managing all Facebook advertising campaigns for a client who didn’t really know much about marketing and, to be honest, didn’t really believe in marketing.
Pretty much all this client knew about Facebook was that they can get “Page Likes” for their business and that’s all they’ve cared about. They’d seen how many Page Likes their competitor had and were hell-bent on exceeding that number at any cost.
I get it. I’ve definitely looked at other solo entrepreneurs like myself, seen how many Page Likes they have on Facebook and Followers they have on Instagram and thought, shit how do I get that many people to like ME?
But here’s the thing…
Facebook Page Likes Mean Nothing if You Don’t Know What to Do With Them!
For a full year, this client had poured their hard-earned dollars into a Facebook campaign to grow their number of followers. Each month when they saw that the number had grown, they were excited to believe that they were winning the popularity contest and finally exceeding their biggest competitor. It sounds great in theory, right? “Oh wow, all these people like my business!”
But my first question when I took over the account was, “What have they been doing with all these Page Likes?” The answer? Absolutely nothing.
Just Because Someone Likes Your Page, It Doesn’t Mean They’re Seeing Your Content
Facebook’s organic reach — the number of people who see your content without you paying to promote it — is declining regularly. Some experts even predict that organic reach will eventually drop to zero. When you think about it, you’re competing for space in a Facebook user’s News Feed. They’re seeing posts from hundreds of friends and family: updates from Aunt Sally’s vacation, photos from Cousin Rachel’s wedding, etc. They’re seeing sponsored advertisements from companies willing to pay for that prime space. Finally, they’re seeing other organic posts from pages they follow and, if they’re anything like me, their newsfeed is full of cat memes and funny pet videos!
Facebook wants to serve you with the very best content. Stories that you’re going to engage with by commenting, liking, sharing. As a result, they simply can’t show you absolutely everything. They’ll serve the content that their algorithm predicts will perform best.
While the idea of having 20,000 followers of Facebook seems exciting, you’ll be lucky if your posts reach maybe 10-12% of your fan base (I’m currently only at 7%).
As I mentioned above, the News Feed is a competitive space and you’ve got to pay to play!
In short, having Facebook followers is great but it’s meaningless unless you have a strategy in place to engage them.
It Doesn’t Mean They’re Engaged with Your Brand
As we learned above, reaching your Facebook followers is a competition. That’s why Facebook gives you the option to “boost” your content by paying a few dollars to make sure your post gets seen.
While targeting your followers CAN be a great strategy depending on the circumstances, don’t fall victim to the default line of thinking that this is your best target audience. Liking your Facebook page doesn’t necessarily mean that the user is engaged with your brand.
When you think about it, liking a page on Facebook is a very passive act. It doesn’t take any effort at all from the user! They skim a piece of content, maybe a see a cool photo, and all they have to do is tap a little button that says “Like Page” before they keep on scrolling through Cousin Rachel’s wedding posts. They’re not required to actually visit your business page. They’re not required to look at any of your other content. All they’ve seen is this one small snapshot of your business, so it’s very possible that your product or service isn’t really what they’re interested in at all!
For example, my brother and his wife own a dance studio that specializes in circus arts. Recently, they ran a workshop that included dramatic Cirque du Soleil style makeup. One of the dance teachers posted a photo of the event with the caption “Our contour game was so strong, it would have made even #KimKardashian jealous!”
Now the dance studio has a bunch of Kim Kardashian fans following them on Instagram. I’m pretty sure once these Kim Kardashian diehards see that all of the studio’s upcoming posts are about dance, they’ll be quick to unfollow, hide the posts or maybe just ignore them.
In short, passively clicking Like Page doesn’t mean that a person will become an engaged reader or a brand loyalist.
It Doesn’t Mean They’re Your Ideal Customer
I mentioned above my family’s dance studio. Our Auntie on the West Coast is one of the studio’s biggest fans! She likes and shares everything they post on Facebook. But is our Auntie the dance studio’s ideal customer? Nope.
Our Auntie’s children are all grown up, meaning she doesn’t have little kids to put in dance classes. Furthermore, she lives on the other side of the country. And even though it feels so great to see how proud she is, all these people she’s sharing with also live about a 5-hour flight away. So they’re not exactly likely to come in and register for classes, are they?
I can think of a hundred other examples like this. My sister-in-law’s former dance teacher from another city. A former student who has graduated from dance and moved away for university. A former colleague to whom I wanted to show some my marketing work.
It’s not to say that these Facebook followers aren’t valuable at all. Brand awareness and brand loyalty are very important! But if you’re spending money to boost your posts to your followers, just keep in mind that a follower doesn’t necessarily equal a potential customer.
So, What ARE Facebook Page Likes Good For?
Statistically speaking, the cost of acquiring a new customer costs five to ten times more than retaining an existing one. Not only that, but repeat customers spend, on average, 67% more. — LinkedIn Pulse
For this reason, Facebook followers can absolutely still be valuable. When you’re regularly posting valuable content, you’re building a relationship with your fan base over time. These people potentially have an affinity for your brand. They are most likely to have read your content or purchased from you before. They see your content organically, or at least some of them do.
Just don’t let the number of Facebook Page Likes you have distract you from your ultimate business goal – making sales!
What About the Client Who Was Obsessed With Page Likes?
The majority of people liking my client’s page did so because they wanted to see weekly sales. I chose to stop advertising to new people asking for a passive Page Like. Instead, I restructured the campaign to focus on generating web traffic from engaged users. After all, approximately 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients.
Wanna know what happened? I TRIPLED their Facebook Ad results and reduced their cost per result by 70%. Details of these changes are here at this link.
But seriously, don’t get caught up in vanity metrics. Page Likes are great, but being popular doesn’t necessarily equal revenue.