Increasing Facebook Likes: You’re Building a Number, Not a Business

Facebook Likes Number Who Cares Everyone wants to know how to get more Facebook Likes. Marketers have goals — whether from superiors or their own — focused entirely around a big, round number.

Obsessed. And they’ve got it all wrong.

Look, big numbers are fun. I get it. I’m approaching 3,000,000 total page views on this site. I’m also approaching 20,000 total Facebook Likes.

But the number, in and of itself, means a whole lot of nothing.

You should know why by now. Many brands, guided by this obsession, buy Likes. Or they pay for poorly targeted ads that net them thousands of Likes from bots and irrelevant countries. Or they run mainstream contests that bring in the masses.

But when it comes to monetizing these people, such brands get the same results: Crickets.

The problem is that this obsession for a number takes the brand’s attention away from what really matters. And such Pages that obsess over the wrong things are so easy to spot.

Your content lacks value. It lacks direction and structure. It only sells and it’s sporadic. And your value proposition is far from clear.

Why? Because the brand doesn’t know why someone should like their Page in the first place. They don’t. They hope “If you build it, they will come” will work. And when it doesn’t, they resort to tricks to inflate that number.

Know Your Value Proposition

I’ve had people come to me with the primary goal of building their Fan base to 10,000. Or 20,000. Or 100,000. They want to know how to get there as fast as possible.

I then ask them for their value proposition. The response: “Ummmmmm…”

When you obsess over number of Likes, you are dehumanizing your audience. It becomes only a number.

What you want is raving Fans. Fans are users. Users are people. People aren’t robots. People lead to business.

Humanize your audience. They are people. Refer to them as the “beautiful, amazing men and women who are passionate about a topic to which I can contribute. They like and dislike things. They have problems. They have emotions. They have limited patience.”

Why should someone like your Page? What is interesting about you? What is unique? What value do you provide?

Before you start talking about goals for your business on Facebook, you must be able to answer these questions. If you can’t, you’ll inevitably stray to focus on empty numbers.

What can you share on a daily basis to make a person’s life better?

This doesn’t mean posting a status update because it gets the most Reach. Or posting a photo because it gets the most clicks. Or using the call to action that gets the most bland responses.

Know who your ideal audience is and what makes them tick. Know what they like and dislike and how you can make their lives better. Leave the cat photos and memes for someone else.

Regularly and consistently publish valuable, self-less, helpful content. The purpose of the majority of posts should be to educate or entertain.

Once you’ve defined your value proposition, craft your branding, imagery, tagline, content and strategy around THIS. Not a goal for a number.

If you don’t do this first — if you don’t pre-define your value proposition — you can only build a number, not a business. And any results will be either hollow or unsustainable.

Build Organically and Paid

Once you define your audience and your value proposition, building that audience — an audience of people, not numbers — becomes infinitely easier. When you focus on providing value, you will grow organically.

But since you also know that ideal audience, it becomes far easier to define them when targeting ads. You know what they like and target those things in Precise Interests. You craft imagery and copy around filling the desires and needs you know they have.

Of course, you have to first answer some difficult questions to get there. Increasing an audience on Facebook takes effort. Don’t take shortcuts. But if you put in the effort to humanize your audience and your message to them, you are much more likely to produce positive results that actually lead to business.

And that — revenue — is the type of result you can be proud of.

  • Savannah Brentnall

    So true! I can’t tell you how often I’ve had this very conversation with clients. They’re so focused on a number but they don’t want to spend the money necessary to create quality content. Hiring your niece or an intern is not the way to create a quality brand page!

  • BudgetVideo4BIZ

    Yes, and of those people searching for LIKES, the majority don’t even fully understand what a LIKE means.

  • Nick @ Wishpond

    Hi Jon! Great article. Its crazy how far down the average Facebook marketer’s list of goals ‘revenue’ is. I think so many people are at a loss when thinking about how to drive revenue from Facebook that they focus on the vanity metrics that they know how to increase. And by choosing tactics that focus solely on these metrics they make it even harder to drive revenue – helping to fulfill their own self-prophecy that it’s impossible to do so.

    I just wish someone would write a simple step-by-step on how to utilize Facebook as a sales funnel to help show them the way… ;)

  • Ryan Gianan

    That is why I hate it when a client demands a huge amount of fans and after getting the desired number of fans will ask why the majority of fans don’t interact with the page. Clients forget that customers don’t care about marketing strategy, they will react to posts when something touches them.

    They also forget that a like doesn’t directly mean profit or conversion for your profit goals.

  • Mike Brooks

    Well said, Jon. I was an early adopter on Facebook in my first business. Since then, I have had several pages for my businesses and one thing I can say is it is getting harder. Facebook users are more savvy and discerning than ever before. The only way to build a page is to stop thinking about it as a page and start thinking of them as people.

  • Tsegay

    real!but, i think that adding more face book friends help to get more information about every activities performed in the world because more people gives more information than few people.

  • Lygia Bellotti

    Very good article! I always have this discussion with my clients here in Brazil! Thank you! Now I have one more argument for our meetings!

  • Digital Insights

    That’s a great article Jon. They are so obsessed with numbers, that they forget the main purpose is to build relationships with your audience which leads to business.

  • Hurl Mcdonald

    The truth has been spoken brother. I frequently ask myself this question, why should I be paying for “Likes”? If I am already trying to share useful content or give away something of value, I think this should be enough to have people liking the job I am doing! But then again, maybe they can only get what I have to offer, if I pay for them to come to my page and get it, or have it directly delivered to them!

    • Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Hurl! Now, don’t get me wrong. Increasing the number of relevant people who care about your content/product/service is absolutely important. And ads are a great tool to speed up that process and reach people you may have never reached. I just don’t want to get that confused with padding a number for the sake of a number only.

  • Justin Lloyd

    Great article! It’s crazy how you said you must have a value proposition in order to accomplish your goals. My teacher said the exact same thing in my business class.

  • Michelle Muckley

    A great example of having useless likes on your page is as an author. When I started out, I thought it was about numbers, but it really is so far from that. There is no point having a bunch of other authors like my page when the only reason they did so was to get me to like their page in return. This was a really helpful article and has made me consider the value of the content which I publish, and I will focus on trying to increase the organic likes by making improvements, and then use targeted ads on top of that. Thanks for a great article.

  • Citationlab

    Buying likes and increasing fans to your fan page is marketing Manipulation. Let me explain, 90% people buy product is recommendation or many people like it. Example you have the same Product and you have 5K likes while your competitors has 100K likes people get lured by this marketing tactics. Most people trust the 100K like because it seems this product is a trust worthy thing. Make sense right? . Ethical or unethical marketing is still a Marketing. Just my two cents.

  • areeb
  • Grant Perry

    After initially being more concerned with fans the last year I’m certainly focused on conversion based campaigns now – for lead gen and direct sale. Fan numbers play some roll – certainly for social proof credibility for unknown brands in particular. But totally agree the interaction you can get is ultimately more important.

  • Gretty

    Hi Jon. Mine is a big number fantasy case. I have “inherited” a NGO fanpage that got a lot of fake fans for several months with no paid promotion (I suspect of some side effects coming from previous ads when the page was started two years ago…). The result is a big number of fans from remote countries (and languages) and any kind of interaction. I’ve been looking for a manner to get rid of this false community in order to approach to the real one but I couldn’t find any solution. Is there any way to solve this?

  • Alice Fuller

    Thanks Jon for another great post on what’s important in marketing period, not just Facebook! Trying to get people away from being number-centric is challenging since most don’t have anything offer. It’s all about what they can get from Facebook, not give!

  • Bryan Fleming

    Jon – is there really any value at all to getting likes on your facebook page now? sure it made sense when they would see your posts. But now facebook wants you to pay just reach your own audience. Seems crazy to me. maybe I am missing something?