In the past, say, five to ten years, brands strived to grow their online communities as fast as they possibly could, often to their own detriment. It wasn’t altogether obvious back then that the size of a community shouldn’t be the primary metric by which success within the social media sphere should be measured.
We need to consider that there was a strong belief that more page likes meant that more people would see and hopefully engage with a brand’s content. The more people that engaged with its content, of course, the more other people got exposed to its products or services
Social media marketing has come a long way since then. Metrics that were deemed important back then aren’t as relevant today, especially now that social media has become a pay-to-play space where brands must compete with finite budgets.
As you may have guessed, Facebook likes simply don’t matter as much anymore, but what’s changed?
The Facebook News Feed Algorithm (Yeah, I know!)
At the beginning of 2018, Facebook Boss, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that there would be changes to how users see status updates on their news feed. These changes meant that users would see less public content such as posts from business, brands and media. Zuckerberg also mentioned that “the public content you (users) see will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
This change was partially prompted by Facebook’s rapidly increasing user base which, subsequently, forced them to find a way to maintain a pleasing user experience. Furthermore, as a justification for the change, Zuckerberg mentioned that it was Facebook’s responsibility to make sure that its services weren’t just fun to use but were also good for people’s well-being.
Facebook’s algorithm works to show users content that is most relevant to them. This was not the case in the past where brands were assured that at least a portion of users who liked their page would see their content. This, then, marked the rise of Facebook ads, en masse, which is a far better option to utilise if brands want people to see their content.
However, this can be quite frustrating because loyal customers, brand advocates and curious users that like a brand’s page might never see its content organically.
Likes Do Not Equate to Sales
As much as likes don’t equate to engagement, they don’t equate to sales either. What guarantee do you have that all 100k people that like a brand’s page will buy its product or service?
The fact of the matter is that you can have millions of likes on Facebook, but none of them will equate to actual revenue. It’s important to note that the journey to purchasing a product (for the user) can be long and complicated. It takes a lot of organic posting (and pleading) from a brand to eventually get even one user from their target audience to purchase their product or service.
It’s far more useful to utilise Facebook’s advertising capabilities to target your potential customers rather than focusing on building and expecting the brand’s page like to bring in some sort of money.
And anyway, there are better ways to drive business value:
- Rather than getting users to like a brand, why not run click-to-web ads that will get them to a space where the exact information they need to consider or make a purchase is available?
- As our media buyers put it, organic content is dead. If you want people to engage with your brand’s content put this content right in front of them to see otherwise they just won’t. Remember, even if they don’t click that ‘like’ button, engagement should be a key metric in your social media strategy. Do people like your content? Do they share it with their friends? Are you top-of-mind?
Look, Facebook likes can make you feel great but the truth of the matter is they may not be doing as much as you think for your brand. It really boils down to how you make people feel that matters.
Use your content marketing strategy to create a brand experience that makes them fall in love with you. It makes your brand a much easier sell on social media.