Why we need to stop thinking about Facebook likes

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There’s often a temptation in business to think of social media as purely a numbers game. I’ve been at many a meeting where the conversation quickly moves onto how many likes you have, or even worse, the viral video syndrome.

If we step back for a second, its important to recognise that social media, by definition, is about shared interests and creating discussion with people who love your brand. 

I’ve even been asked if “buying” 5,000 followers for a price to show relevance, providing some form “social proof” is the way to go. This concept of ‘buying’ 5,000 followers is achieved in one of two ways; either running Facebook advertising targeting overseas audiences at a more affordable rate then could be done in Australia or paying a syndicate of people to simply like the page.

But unless this so happens to be your target market, the fact of the matter is that this may succeed in validating your own feeling of importance, but having a page with no interaction is likely to be of no benefit to your business at all. The question is: why then would you target people who aren’t interested in buying what you’re selling?

You also need to consider the motivation of Facebook as a business. Facebook only shows 300 (on average) posts to the typical user every day. This means there is much, much more competition on the News Feed these days and they prioritise content based on whether it will generate conversation or not. And it makes sense - for Facebook to be commercially successful they need brands to create content that’s interesting, newsworthy and entertaining. This brings more people onto the social network, which in turn generates more advertising dollars.

So instead of likes, you should focus on the engagement rate on a Facebook page and how this relates to building brand awareness, customer engagement, relationship building, sales or as a new channel for customer service.

At Clarity, our focus is to develop a community from Day One that achieves an engagement rate as high as 4-7 per cent. We believe a page with 500 highly engaged fans is better for business than a page with 5,000 passive fans.

The challenge for business in Western Australia is to focus on the outcome, the why you have a social media community and to focus your attention and content towards this goal. Only then will we be able to move away from the conversation about likes and back to why social media was originally created.

Clarity Communications will be holding another Social Media Masterclass for Business on Wednesday 6 August. Bookings are essential.

Written by Beth Bolt.