Is it Important to be Liked on Facebook?
Can we talk? Recently, while out walking with my favorite human, I tried to greet a stranger, who crossed the street to avoid me. I wagged my tail and flashed my best doggy grin, but he continued to ignore me. Naturally, I wondered what was wrong. Did I smell bad? My human explained that not everybody likes dogs. Say what?!
I am truly shocked. I like everyone, including the vet, so I simply assumed everyone adored me. Sure, I’m a big guy, which might be intimidating, but I have very good manners. My human told me not to take it personally, but I admit, it made me feel bad. Everyone wants to be liked.
Even businesses want to be “Liked,” especially on something called Facebook (FB). When you have a page on FB or post content, people can like it or love it. They can also express surprise, sadness and even anger. Or, they can simply ignore it. However, besides being potentially hurtful, what does this really mean?
I decided to dig up a little background first. Did you know that Facebook introduced the “Like” button in 2009 to let friends know you enjoy what they’re sharing? It quickly became a type of social currency – a sign of approval. When businesses started using FB, being “Liked” was a way to gauge brand interest and popularity.
You Are What You Like
But eventually Likes took on a more important role. Through a simple click of a button, FB can build a history of everything a user is interested in by adding all your Likes to your profile. What’s more, by combining and comparing your Likes, FB can identify patterns and correlations, revealing a lot about an individual. So, for instance, if I used my paw to Like rawhide bones, I would start receiving ads for these chewy delights. But since I also Like peanut butter treats, cool collars and books about Poodles (don’t ask), FB can form a detailed profile about me. With over a billion users, FB has created the most valuable data resource ever!
In fact, researchers from The University of Cambridge and Stanford University released a report in 2015 which looked at how people’s FB Likes could be used as an indicative measure of their psychological profile, and what they found was amazing. Using the results of a 100-question psychological study from 86,000 participants, compared with their respective FB Likes, the researchers developed a system which could then, based on FB activity alone, determine a person’s psychological make-up more accurately than their friends, their family – even their partner.1
From a marketing perspective, that’s valuable information. It can help define your marketing efforts to reach specific targets. It sounds great, but it doesn’t answer the question about whether receiving Likes is important.
There Are More Important Things than Being Liked
Many industry experts believe that FB Likes are no big deal. First, users who Like your page may never engage with the content. It’s easy to Like a post or page, but far less likely a user will interact with it or visit your business FB page. According to a study cited by SocialSamosa, only 1% of users who Like a business will visit their FB page. Furthermore, you can “Unfollow” a page but still Like it, which means Followers may be a more valuable metric. The bottom line: FB Likes are not correlated with more business or more engagement.
So, “Likes” might make you feel good, but they don’t necessarily translate into more business or better quality business. In fact, there are some fans you might not want to have (like the neighbor’s cat who likes to play with my tail!). So, what can you do?
- Focus on building engagement rather than racking up Likes.
- Don’t depend on FB, or any social network, as your primary platform for delivering content.
- Consider local Facebook pages rather than a standard business page. Per Authenticity Marketing, local pages have five times the reach and eight times the engagement level.
- Use Likes to help measure audience response when assessing Page performance, but put more emphasis on engagement at the post level, which defines your reach and response.
- Likes can give you a competitive advantage by improving credibility and trust, but since companies can buy Likes, this is becoming less important.
- Getting Likes is only the beginning. Maintaining an active page with fresh, relevant content is what keeps people around.
In the end, worrying about the number of Likes you get is probably a waste of time. Creating great content that generates interest is still the best way to achieve your content marketing goals, and should naturally translate into Followers. Just remember: even when you do your best to be lovable, some people will never like you. Try not to take it personally.
1 “Do Page Likes Still Matter on Facebook?” by Andrew Hutchinson, Social Media Today, July 27, 2016.