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Facebook from scratch: I don’t care how many ‘Likes’ you have (& why you shouldn’t either!)

Do you wish your Facebook page had more likes? More engagement? Sent more customers to your website? I’m with you! Welcome to the third post in a series on building & growing your Facebook page from scratch. (Read the first post: “We all start from zero” and the second post: “4 hand-picked resources to help you run better Facebook Ads“.)

Treat your community like PEOPLE, not numbers

Raise your hand if you've ever said–or thought–”I really need more Likes on Facebook.” Be honest. (Don’t be shy, I’m raising my hand right along with you!)

I know I’m not the only with my hand up because “I want to build my Likes on Facebook” is something I hear over and over again from my clients–heck, one of my most popular newsletter subject lines was ‘Do you want more Likes on Facebook?’–but I actually kinda hate that phrase. (Same goes for ‘I need more followers on Twitter’ or the equivalent metric on any other social network.) Why? Because it’s all about the number and not about the people behind it.

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers in this social networking world where if someone has 10,000 Likes or 25,000 Twitter followers we think ‘wow, they must be somebody, look at all that social proof!’ But honestly the size of the community only matters if they are ENGAGED.

And guess what, if you buy them from a like-farm in Bangladesh or build them through a ‘I’ll like your page if you like mine' circle, the chance they actually care about what you have to say is slim-to-none.

How focusing on sheer numbers can backfire

I probably don’t have to tell you that those non-ideal customers will likely never buy from you, but having more Likes can’t hurt, right? Wrong. While having a un-engaged audience on any social network isn't ever going to help your business, on Facebook it can actually work against you.

Take a look at the ‘reach’ of a couple of your Facebook Page’s recent posts. You can see that each post is probably only reaching a fraction of your Page’s audience–16% is the average. This is because Facebook’s algorithm (formally called EdgeRank) works hard to predict what each user really wants to see in their news feed. And while the new algorithm take over 100,000 factors into accounthow much people engage with your content is still a major determinant.

“For example, if we show an update to 100 users, but only a couple of them interact with it, we may not show it in your News Feed. But if a lot of people are interacting with it, we might decide to show it to you, too.” — Lars Backstrom, Engineering Manager for News Feed Ranking at Facebook

(Pro tip: Facebook actually gives us a quick way to gauge the level of interaction on a page–check out that ‘talking about this’ number. This is the sum of the likes, comments & shares on a Page’s posts over the past 7 days.)

Facebook 'talking about this' on the NYT Page

Focus on your community and the numbers will follow

The importance of focusing on more than the sheer size of your audience goes way beyond scoring well in Facebook’s algorithm, for me it’s about the foundation social media is built on: real relationships.

When you focus on the WHY behind what you do and your real motivation for wanting to grow your community, you will create a space where you can really connect with your ideal client, “engagement” will be easy to come by and the numbers will take care of the themselves.

In our gut we can tell right away if someone genuinely cares about us or if we are just a number to them. (Tweet that!)

I want to grow my community (on Facebook, on my newsletter list, on Twitter, etc.) because I know there are amazing entrepreneurs out there who are stuck in social media overwhelm and missing this massive opportunity to connect with their peeps. I want to banish this social media paralysis and help those passionate entrepreneurs create a community they can be proud of–one where they are serving and connecting with their dream clients.

Knowing my why makes it easy to share resources my community will love, spend time answering your questions and generally go above and beyond for you. And this will create “engagement” organically because I’m working hard to provide value, be of service and really get to know the people in my community (Yes, you! Come introduce yourself on my Facebook page).

My “Facebook from Scratch” Page Report:
My Facebook page(see my page)

Last week: 50 likes & 47 ‘talking about this'
This week: 96 likes & 84 ‘talking about this'

What I did:

  • Shared last week’s blog in a couple of related business Facebook groups.
  • Invited about 10 of my personal Facebook friends to like the page (only those who had expressed direct interest in my business).
  • Did my first round of Facebook Advertising. I spent $68.36 over the period of about 5 days for 21 Likes (that’s a cost per like of $3.25 on average)–clearly there is work to be done here because that’s quite a bit more than I’d like to be paying, even though the leads seemed pretty targeted. (Want to see what my most successful ad looked like and exactly who I targeted? Jump on my list for an exclusive breakdown of the entire first round of my Facebook advertising experiment next week.)

Take Action Now

  • Ask yourself, why do you want to grow your community–really?

Is this WHY reflected in your last 3 or 4 posts? What can you do for your community right now that they will absolutely love?

I’d love to hear from you

How do you support your community? Who does a really great job of making you feel like a valued member of their community?

Share with us in the comments below! I'm always looking for great genuine community-building practices.

Do you know someone who's worried about their number of Facebook likes? (Or is constantly asking you to ‘Like' their page when you're so not their ideal customer?) Pass on this article! And if you found it helpful, I'd love it if you'd share it on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ using the buttons right below.

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>> In this free training you'll learn:

  • The number one mistake people make when it comes to their social media content
  • How to generate a month’s worth of content in a few short hours(using the same system I use AND teach my private clients)
  • What works (& what doesn’t) on Facebook and Twitter (with TONS of real examples)
  • How to automate this piece of your social media presence so it works hard getting you noticed while you’re busy doing other stuff

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2 Responses to Facebook from scratch: I don’t care how many ‘Likes’ you have (& why you shouldn’t either!)

  1. Silvia August 23, 2013 at 22:15 #

    This was really helpful. My FB biz page is relatively new and I haven’t tried to get more likes…don’t even know how. I simply thought that my “WHY” is for almost everyone because everyone needs to eat. Right? Wrong. i consistently put out great recipes and tips but don’t get the response, comments I expect. Not sure why that is since my recipes are mostly geared toward health conscious, time short people…and I have good photos; something I’m very proud of because just a short time ago they were not so good. And as a pro chef, I know my recipes are really good. Even Mind Body Green thinks they’re good because they published my first two submissions last week. Two in one week! Even I’m impressed with that. So don’t know what I’m doing wrong because I don’t expect people to buy from me (I get my clients other ways) so I’m not trying to sell…just share something delicious and useful and hopefully they’ll subscribe to my list.

    • Jackie Johnstone August 24, 2013 at 17:48 #

      Silvia,

      Glad you found the post helpful! While everyone does need to eat, I think if you try to narrow in on your ideal audience a bit more, you’ll find getting engagement on Facebook is much easier. For example, time short, health-conscious people can be narrowed down further: maybe your audience is busy moms with small children or perhaps it’s time-strapped young professionals cooking for one who want easy recipes so they aren’t always eating take-out — the types of content that will appeal to those two disparate groups are very different.

      Also, if you have great photos, you might want to take a look at Pinterest! Delicious, well-photographed recipes spread there like wild-fire.

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