Using “Likes” to Grow Your Business on Facebook

Likes - they don't matter without salesFacebook Likes are an extremely misunderstood tool. Many business owners believe that the more likes you have, the better, reasoning that being popular is a good thing. People like to buy from popular brands.

Though that is partially true, the algorithm has undergone many changes over the years, and so the effectiveness of likes has changed. The confusion stems from this. Initially Facebook likes were merely vanity metrics. They didn’t have much marketing value other than to tell people that a business was popular, and were the social proof version of Pokes. Collecting likes was a painful and time consuming process, but business owners had to have them. We spent a lot of time chasing likes and trying to get more.

Chasing “like” strategies

Entrepreneurs are innovative, and when faced with a problem like needing likes, collectively we came up with a few gimmicks to get a lot of likes at one time. Though these have largely been discarded (for reasons you’ll learn), there are still pockets of business owners who don’t know the damage they can do. So they will emerge out of hibernation every so often. Once you’re armed with this information, you can avoid falling into the same traps that we did. 

Like Ladders

Which is where you start a thread where a group of business owners create a post for everyone to share their business page link. Then each person in the group goes and likes each other’s pages. In the old days, that didn’t matter. More likes = more better. But now, it’s a different story.

Your target audience is all wrong. Everyone who participates in this thread is a business owner, which now creates a false customer profile for Facebook to match your content to. Which means your carefully crafted content will be shown to all the wrong people. The people that aren’t buying. 

This video will explain exactly how target audiences can make or break your business. Less than 10 minutes to that clarity! 

Paid Likes

Then there were paid Page Like campaigns on Facebook. Page Like campaigns are usually terrible for your business page because the system doesn’t work exactly as designed. When you create a page like campaign, you will start to see an increase in likes, as expected. Facebook will tell you everything is working great, and your results are amazing. The problem is that this success is a false positive. Most of your likes will come from Like farms in Pakistan, India, and Malaysia. Which is totally fine, if that’s your target market. But if your target market is a 45-year-old housewife in Des Moines, you’ve just made it that much harder, if not impossible for her to see your content, because Facebook thinks your target market is a 25-year-old man in Karachi.

Which is why, now… likes are a problem

vanity - using likes to grow your biz on facebookTimes, they are changing, and Facebook likes are more than just vanity metrics these days. Now they have actual value and worth. Likes carry data that can help you identify how to increase your sales in a sustainable way. Unfortunately, these kinds of techniques – like ladders, paid campaigns and the like – they actually hurt you more than they help you because it skews the data Facebook has on your audience, making it harder for you to get your products and posts in front of new eyes that actually want your product, which ultimately results in a decrease in sales.

Because in the end, no matter how many likes you have, they’re pointless without sales. These techniques actively promote the opposite. They give you the likes, without the engagement and sales.

How Facebook Likes are Useful

But even taking this into consideration, Facebook Likes are very useful, and can be a healthy part of a nutritious marketing strategy! But the tool needs to be applied strategically and with intention.

Timing of Posts

timing your postsIf you do a search right now, you’ll find that there are tons of articles and infographics on the best time to post on Facebook. Everyone has an opinion and will give you a long list of reasons why. They’re also varied and confusing because they’re based on an average of all of Facebook. But as we discussed earlier, your audience isn’t all of Facebook. It’s a specific group of people. Your audience.

Knowing that, the only true metric towards figuring out when the best time to post is by using your Facebook Page Insights which tells you about your people. Facebook looks at all your followers and creates a heatmap based off of when they are online, so that you can determine the best time to post your content. This gets your market seeing your content and shows Facebook who else to show it to. 

Ad Campaigns & Targeting

How do I use Likes to Grow my Business PageWhen you set up an ad campaign, one of the most powerful audiences you can create is a Lookalike audience of people who have already engaged with your page. This means that Facebook will look at the people who like your page, making the assessment that they already like you and they are your target market. Then it will find people on Facebook who have never heard of you, who have similar characteristics to the people that do like you and show your content to them. It allows you to find people you may never have even heard of and attract them to your page. Facebook constantly tests your content against other people who look like your followers. 

Using the techniques from the old days, Facebook thinks your demographics are other small business owners and young men living in India, so the data provided in your insights section will not be of any value to you. Additionally, you won’t be able to use the information on your page to create any meaningful ad campaigns. This can bring your online growth to a complete standstill. 

What to do Instead

Social Strategy SquadDon’t worry though! This doesn’t mean you are doomed to have less likes forever! Even if you’ve already made some of these mistakes. (We all have). You can grow your page following organically, effectively, and in a relatively short period of time. There are a few specific steps to take to ensure that you’re growing your page to maximize your sales rather than your vanity metrics.

  • Make sure that you are posting content on your page using as many keywords as you can for your target audience. Don’t forget to include a strong call to action.
  • Pepper in some lives, and when you do, try to get as many reactions as you can. The best way to do that is to ask for reactions in response to something emotional that people connect with. Experiences that we all have, nostalgia, something exciting. When you can feel the emotional momentum is up, and you’re on a roll, that’s the time to ask. We have a step-by-step training on this in the Social Strategy Squad.
  • Whenever someone interacts with your content, be sure to invite them to like your page! That’s how you really grow!
  • For smaller pages, remove all unqualified likes, which is people you know aren’t your audience. If you have more than 5000 likes that are all non-qualified, you will want to consider starting a new page, since this one will be hard to resurrect.

What if I already did a lot of ladders?

First, look at the engagement on your page. If you’re getting a lot of engagement from your actual target audience, then you may be a statistical anomaly, and you don’t need to do anything.

But if its always crickets for you, then consider how much work it would take to clean up your page. If your page is 300 likes or less, you can either carry on with this page, remove the unqualified likes and redistribute your followers. If your page likes are at 1,000+ then I would recommend just starting a new page since the ROI is low.

Let me know what you think!

Did you know you can comment as your Business Page or yourself? When you do, it will automatically put your comment in your feed as a post! A quick and easy way to get content for your audience.

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