We just deleted over a third of our Facebook page Like base!
Should you be doing the same? Possibly. But why, you ask?
Back in the old days (2010), the only thing any business with a Facebook page thought about was Likes. How many Likes do we have? How many Likes can I get $100? How quickly can I get another 1,000 Likes?
Growing your social community was critically important. The more Likes your Facebook business page had, the more people would see your content, and hopefully engage with it. The more people engaged, the more people beyond that initial group were also exposed to your posts. This is the basic concept of organic reach. Well, that just proves that you need lots of Likers right? Wrong!
Page Likes and Organic Reach
We remember when we first started posting on Business Pages, organic reach was sitting at approximately 16%, this dropped to 6% in 2014. 2016 saw it sitting at 3% and today? Well today its below 1%, yes BELOW 1%.
If the audience that is exposed to your post interacts with it in some way, Facebook thinks “wow, this must be good content” and will feed your post out to a little more of your audience. But what if the 1 person that saw that post was a “bought” Like or someone who only liked your page because of that “Like our page to go into the draw to win an iPad” competition you ran last year? Well, they probably won’t interact with the post, ergo, the post reach is stunted by the algorithm and your content doesn’t get out there, even if it’s the best, most amazing content your business has produced! With the continued tweaks to the newsfeed algorithm, users who Like your page might never actually see your content organically.
But there is an even more important reason why the quality of Likes is more important than the quantity… and that’s audience purity.
What is Audience Purity and why does it matter?
With the organic reach of Facebook sitting as low as it is, businesses are being forced to turn to paid advertising to get their message or content out there. In order to do this you need to create an audience to send your content out to. The most obvious of these: your current Like base. Of course! But what if more than half of them are “Zombie Likes”. And by Zombies I don’t mean the walking dead (or maybe I do?), I mean non genuine followers. People who are not actively wanting to know more about your business. You are about to spend money pushing your wares to people who don’t want to know. Money that could be spend reaching people who do!
And let’s not forget the most powerful audience tool that we have right at our fingertips, the Lookalike Audience. When you create a lookalike audience, Facebook looks for users with the same demographic and interests etc as your existing audience. You then pay to advertise to them. Before creating a lookalike audience with your Like base, you need to ask yourself’ “What kind of audience am I pulling into my funnel?” This is also true of lookalike audiences from old email lists, event databases etc. The more diluted these audiences are to start, the less robust your lookalike audience is going to be. And that means one thing: your ads are going to be doomed to produce little, or what it does produce is at high cost!
But what about Social Proofing?
At the most basic level, ‘social proof’ refers to the basis that people are (sadly) sheep and follow the flock. People allow their purchase decisions to be influenced by the demonstrated actions of others. To put it another way, when people see other people buying or endorsing a product, they will want it too – ergo a purchase validator.
By now you know that Facebooks is removing Like counts from posts. Their reason? “To emphasise the quality of content users share and take away the popularity aspect, which has associated mental-health implications for teens.” Great, I’m happy to see that vanity metric vanish. But what does this mean for your posts? Even though the Likes can’t be seen, it’s still very important your content is engaging (in particular getting people to comment or share). Remember the organic engagement formula? The more people engage, the more people will be shown your content. And it has an effect on the cost of your ads. Yes, the more “social proof” your ads have, the less it costs you to get the post out to your audience.
Coming back to us, in our case, we’ve been around since 2011. Recently we ran a series of posts through the ad account specifically targeting our Facebook Like base and found the quality of return to be poor. Why? The business we were in 2011 is unrecognisable to the one we are now and the original Likers from 8 years ago are not necessarily relevant to our audience target market today.
So, what does this mean? We could be wasting our money and poisoning our marketing funnel! Why? Quite simply, we could be advertising to an audience (both our original and lookalike) that are irrelevant and not interested in our services. This means our top of funnel is polluted which filters all the way down, our social proofing is poor and the cost of advertising is much higher than it should be.
I’ll leave you with this…
An interesting little side fact: According to one study, only 1% of users who Like a brand on Facebook will actually visit that brand’s Facebook Page.
The moral of the story: the number of Likes your page has isn’t important…. The quality of the Likes is important.
Time to revisit your audience and possibly rethink your Like count?