If you've spent any time in business-focused Facebook groups you seen these threads: “let’s share the Facebook love” Like fests, or “I’ll like your page if you like mine” Like trades. Whatever you want to call them (like circles, like ‘ladders’, like ‘parties’), they seem like a fantastic idea: a community supporting one and other, a free way to spread the love and get Likes without having to pay for ads and great exposure for your new page.
HOWEVER, you’re actually sabotaging your Facebook Page if you jump into this kind of like-trading. (Seriously. I’m not trying to be sensational here.)
But how am I ever going to get over 100 Likes if I don’t ask everyone-and-their-dog to like my page?!?
I hear you. When you first start a Facebook Page and you only have 13 likes, it sucks. I've been there. I know it’s tempting to participate in one of these Facebook Like Fest threads (and I know Page owners who have been able to grow their Pages well over 500 likes in a very short space of time using this tactic). But–and I *know* you've heard me say this before!—it’s not your number of Likes that matter, it’s how active and engaged your community is.
This is true on any social network (and even for your email subscribers list!) but it’s especially important on Facebook.
How you are hurting your Facebook Page
There are two big problems with these schemes on Facebook:
1) you may be building your sheer number of Likes but you are not building an audience of ideal clients so they probably aren't going to be worth anything business-wise (because they'll probably never hire/buy from you and let's face it, there are no prizes for the number of Likes you have nor does Facebook pay you money for every 100, 1000 or 10,000 Likes) and,
2) these non-ideal-clients are not likely to engage with your Page’s content (because they aren't actually interested in your business) and their inaction will actually work against your Page in the Facebook algorithm.
While problem #1 is relatively harmless it’s problem #2 that really bears repeating: an audience of non-ideal-clients will actually HURT your Facebook Page.
Why you need a super-targeted audience to be successful on Facebook
Everyone complains about the Facebook algorithm and while I think a lot of the panic is overblown, the algorithm does determine how many fans see your posts. And one of main components of the algorithm is how much ENGAGEMENT a post is getting.
Facebook basically shows your post to a couple members of your audience and gauges their interaction with it: Are they clicking on the link? Liking? Commenting or sharing?
(And by the way, out of all those actions commenting seems to determine a post’s reach the most — check out this super helpful experiment from Derek Halpern of Social Triggers for more.)
SO if the post is getting a lot of interaction, Facebook says, “huh, this must be good content” and puts it into even more of your fans’ news feeds.
BUT if the people seeing your posts are NOT targeted (and as such not interested in the content you are sharing) they probably won’t interact with it and Facebook will say to itself, “huh, guess this content must not be that great” and limit your reach.
The RIGHT way to build Facebook likes
- Participate in Like circles/Like fests, etc.
- Ask your friends and family to like your page (I *know* Facebook encourages you to do this when you first setup your Page but only invite those people you know are ideal clients)
- Buy Likes from scammy like-farms
- Be patient! Great community isn’t built overnight.
- Create consistent, valuable content your ideal clients will LOVE –> check out the 4 Pillars of Great Facebook Content for a system that makes this easy
- Share helpful posts from your business page into groups where you ideal clients are hanging out –> listen to my interview with Brandon Wagner for more on this tactic
- Be of service wherever and whenever you can! –> more on my favourite social media strategy
I’d love to hear from you
Have you been tempted to participate in these kinds of like trades before? Did you even realize having un-targeted likes would hurt your Page?
And please, please, please share this with a fellow Page owner today. (Especially if you see them participating in these Like Fest threads!) Let’s spread the education so every Page owner can grow the kind of helpful, active community that makes them proud–and actually works *with*, rather than against, the Facebook algorithm. There are social share buttons right below : )