Why Facebook Page Likes Still Matter

Facebook Page Likes Still Matter

If you’ve been listening to the chatter lately, you may be convinced that Facebook page likes no longer matter. Or they matter less than they once did.

Allow me to disagree. In my opinion, Facebook page likes still matter. In fact, they may matter more than they ever did before.

[Tweet “Don’t listen to the naysayers. Facebook page likes matter. A lot. Here’s why…”]

The Argument

The basis of the argument tends to be from one of two things:

  • The “death” of organic reach
  • Poor Facebook advertising results

The first argument sounds a little something like this…

Your Facebook fans won’t see your content anyway! So likes no longer matter. Why would you pay for that??

The second argument:

Watch this video called Facebook Fraud. Advertising doesn’t work! It only brings you fake profiles, and those aren’t real people who result in business. So why would likes matter anymore??

The arguments’ foundation is a lack of trust in Facebook. That Reach is disappearing, forcing brands to advertise. That when they advertise, real people aren’t attracted anyway. It’s one big scam!

The Counter Argument

The argument is made in a vacuum that a Like now lacks value. It doesn’t consider the quality of the Like and where it came from.

The first argument about Reach is not entirely true. Percentage of fans who see each post is going down for about 70% of brands. Not all brands. But how many of your fans see any of your content — for free — during a given day or week? Is this not valuable?

I find that I regularly reach a number of people organically over a week that is at least equal to my total number of fans. Considering a portion of the people who like my page are now inactive or rarely active, this — to me — seems like a very reasonable number.

Of course, we were spoiled in the past. We reached 20% or even up to 50% of our total fans with a single post. We set that as our expectation, and we assumed that anyone who liked our page should not only be able to see it, but be required to see it. THEY WANT TO SEE THIS STUFF, DARNIT!

The truth is that Facebook is a growing, changing landscape. There is much, much more competition in the News Feed these days. Not only are there more people on Facebook, but there are more brands. And those brands are more active than ever before.

The result? Facebook is still showing only 300 (on average) posts to the typical user every day. But that means this number is a smaller percentage of the total number of posts in the past.

Bottom Line: Facebook can’t be successful unless users engage and are happy. If they want to see your awesome brand posts, Facebook will need to show it or pay the consequences. Facebook needs to balance and tweak what they think users want based on their actions.

So understand that fewer fans will see a single post. But you should also alter your expectations and ask what is reasonable. Angry and want to leave Facebook? Okay. How many of your followers on Twitter will see a single tweet? Google+? On and on.

If it’s more, feel free to take off. But my guess is that the grass isn’t greener.

Ultimately, quality is what’s most important. Let’s assume that your highest quality fans are the top 2%. The most important thing is that you reach as many of those 2% (understanding many won’t be online when you post) as possible.

If 70% of your fans are casual and rarely take action, how important is it that you reach all of those 70% with each post? It’s a question you should ask yourself.

Along those lines of quality, consider your email list. Let’s assume a list of 20,000 people. The profitability of those 20,000 people is directly related to the quality of the list. If you bought the list, you are unlikely to get the results you would get from people who willfully opted in to receive your content.

Same goes for Facebook fans. If you have 20,000 fans that you bought — or you acquired through lazy or deceptive means — you shouldn’t expect results. Quality matters.

That leads us to the “Facebook Fraud” argument — that Facebook is fraudulently building likes with ads from click farms. You know that an email list of 20,000 people is only valuable if they are 20,000 people who care about your product, service or niche. Same with Facebook ads for likes. Attract those already close to you so you can bucket them and reach them, both paid and organic.

You should build your fan base first with people who have subscribed to your content, bought from you or visited your website. Those will be high quality fans.

Your success with building a relevant audience on Facebook is dependent on the quality of your targeting.

How I Value Likes

I value high quality Likes. I no longer run contests to pad a number, attracting people who are less likely to be my customer. I rarely target users who don’t know who I am to build my audience.

The result? I’ve found that fans are most likely to BUY!

Repeatedly when I have a product to promote, I find that fans buy at a very high rate. On the flip side, people who are less likely to know who I am (and trust me) are far less likely to buy.

As a result, I see Facebook as a very simple sales funnel:

  1. Build a highly relevant audience
  2. Provide content that interests them and they value to build trust
  3. Collect an email address
  4. SELL

Otherwise, you’re just selling to people who may not know who you are, interrupting their experience on Facebook. Even if you only reach a fan with paid ads, you know they are interested in you and are willing to hear from you — as opposed to blindly targeting people, selling your crap.

I see it as a productive method to “bucket” users. By liking your page, someone has expressed interest in your product or service, even if they never want to read your posts in their News Feed. So when you sell, that affinity makes them more likely to buy.

That’s why even I’m not all that concerned about reaching 100% of my fans organically. The bottom line will be the sale, and bucketing those people helps separate those who are likely to buy from those who aren’t.

Importance of Targeted Ads

When you build likes, focus on quality over quantity. Sometimes, be willing to spend a little more to attract the people most likely to buy (see WCA).

1. Email Subscribers/Customers
2. Website Custom Audiences

3. THEN…

If you don’t target appropriately, don’t expect to get quality out of your ads or out of your fan base. Then, YES, fans are worthless.