Facebook Likes: Quantity vs. Quality
Having more of something is usually better, right? More money is better than less money, and more cupcakes are better than fewer cupcakes. But when it comes to Likes on your business’s Facebook page, the quality of those Likes is often more important than the quantity.
We often judge the quality of things by their popularity. Lists like “Top Sellers”, “Most Popular” and “Most 5 Star Reviews” help us sift through the sea of products and services. The idea is that if a certain product is popular, then it must be good. And for most things, that system works well. So when Facebook business pages came along, it was natural for businesses to care about the total number of ‘Likes’ on their page. Afterall, more Likes are better. A lot of early Facebook marketing campaigns were geared toward only getting people to Like the page in exchange for a free gift or coupon. And many of these campaigns were successful in doing just that. Lots of people Liked the page, entered the contest or got the free gift and Likes for that page increased. But therein lies the problem. Getting a lot of Likes on Facebook isn’t difficult if you don’t care who Likes your business’s page. There are companies out there who will guarantee you 1000 Facebook likes or more for a flat fee, and giveaways and incentives to Like a page have shown to work reasonably well at getting Likes. But are these Likes benefiting your business? If that visitor is only on your page for that one time Like – and does not interact further by sharing or posting comments, then it might not be the benefit you’d hoped for. With the recent interface changes to Facebook, this question is even more important to ask.
To find our answer we have to take a quick peek behind the Facebook curtain and see how it all works. Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine what shows up in your timeline as a Highlighted Story. One of the most important elements of this algorithm is user interaction, which they refer to as Weight. The more comments and Likes a post has, the more likely it will show up at the top of the timeline. If you commented on or Liked a particular post, future posts from that person are more likely to go to the top as well. Facebook does this to try to bring you content that will interest you the most.
Companies that purchase Likes or run contests for free products in exchange for Likes can harvest thousands of Likes on their Facebook page, but these Likes tend to be from people who could care less about the business and rarely interact with them on Facebook. In their recent redesign, Facebook gave businesses a valuable tool to gauge how well fans are interacting with the business. If you look on the left side of your Facebook page, you will see “like this”, “talking about this” and “were here”. The “talking about this” is a quick indicator to see how many of your fans are interacting with your page. There isn’t an optimal percentage here, but it gives you an idea of how you are doing. If you have 2000 Likes and only 7 people are “talking about this”, you probably need to do more to engage your fans.
Just having a large number of Likes for your business’s Facebook page is meaningless unless those people are interacting with it by Liking, sharing and commenting on posts. Without engaged fans, your posts are probably getting lost in the vast ocean of pet and baby pictures. When your fans are engaged with your business, not only are your posts being seen by them, but they are also being seen by their friends. Building up your fan base on Facebook naturally will ensure that those who Like your page are more likely to engage with your business in positive ways and help your business grow. If you run a campaign to generate Likes, make sure you have a plan to engage them afterwards. It’s better to have 20 fans who care about your business and are interacting with it on Facebook than 2000 fans who could care less.