Facebook… What would we do without it? Many people would go crazy if they couldn’t access their Facebook accounts or check the news feed every 5 minutes. Their day would simply not be complete if they didn’t post anything, share something or like something on Facebook. Facebook was not one of the most popular social media sites a decade ago, but its features made many people switch to the platform we now all know and love.

Facebook grew in popularity in 2007 and many businesses and marketing experts saw the potential of Facebook to advertise their brands to potential customers and followers. Since then, many online marketers and SEO experts have targeted as many likes as they can for their Facebook pages or any posts they uploaded to that page. Some social media marketers are completely focused on getting more Facebook likes. They think that having thousands of Facebook likes is the pinnacle of social media marketing.

But the question is, are these Facebook likes really that important? Does it hold any successful weight for your business? Does a Facebook like truly create massive follower engagement, viral excitement and revenue through the roof?

Why Facebook Matters To Your Brand

Honestly, it’s very hard to know if Facebook likes can carry any measurable value for brands. Obviously, a like on Facebook holds some kind of value because companies as well as users are always in a virtual competition to gain as many likes as possible. Take a look at the chart below.

Shareaholic acquired the above data over a few months. It shows just how popular Facebook is and its role in traffic referrals.

One of the most obvious reasons why Facebook matters is its size. Facebook has a monthly usage of 1.23 billion and counting. Almost all industries that use Facebook have seen a huge decline in the organic Facebook post reach, and it’s getting worse, although some companies have seen a rise in Facebook likes after running paid ads. Plus the new algorithm brought benefits to many businesses by retaining their likes, but is there any point of getting page likes if you can no longer advertise to your followers without paying Facebook?

Let’s see the benefits:

Likes Can Build and Promote a Community

Facebook likes increase the sense of community between the company and the customer. Your Facebook page can be a base point where customers and the business can communicate in a more casual way. If your customers get a response from you, they are likely to share your posts which will open up more possible followers.

Likes Can Enhance Your Credibility

Facebook has 1.3 billion users and counting, and most of these users check their accounts every day or every 5 minutes and these business pages are tied into paid marketing strategies. If your page has 20,000 likes and is getting 4-5 star reviews, it will surely have a great impact on your customers which will convert to sales and more shares. Your credibility as a business will grow and it will make your business more attractive to potential customers.

Why Facebook Likes Don’t Really Matter

This is the other side of the coin. There are people that don’t believe Facebook likes will help your business. It may sound harsh but there is some truth to it. Facebook likes are not totally worthless, but their actual value diminishes very fast. For the last 2 years, Facebook has been squeezing the organic reach of content for any businesses using the social site. In 2013 a post from a business Facebook page would reach between 11-13% of followers on their news feed. Today, you’d be lucky if 3% of followers see your post.

There are also businesses and individuals who suggest you should leave Facebook and completely deactivate your business account. Eat24 and Copyblogger said goodbye to their followers and left Facebook because they felt they were not getting their money’s worth by staying on Facebook. Since dropping Facebook, Eat24 reported that they had a 75% increase in app downloads within the week after deleting their page. They also stated that their email open rates doubled.

But why is this the case? Here is why Facebook likes don’t matter:

1. A like doesn’t mean engagement

It’s very easy for someone to like your page but it’s less likely that they will see or be bothered to read your posts. It’s also less likely that they will interact with and visit your Facebook business page. Of all the people who liked your page, on average only 1% of them will visit your business page and get engaged.

2. Facebook likes are not equal to business engagement

Go on any business page on Facebook and check out the number of fans. You should be presented with a graph of the number or likes and the number of people “talking about this page”. If a page has tens of thousands of likes, yet only 10 people talking about the page, not much engagement is happening. Engagement is the real metric you need to focus on.

3. Likes are becoming more complicated

Some experts and businesses feel that Facebook likes are only a superficial metric. The likes will make you feel good about yourself and your business, but overall, the number is useless and insignificant. They also added that promoting your business or brand is becoming more complicated every day. Newsfeed algorithm changes, policy changes and restrictions on advertising all affect a social marketer’s job. As advertising becomes more complex on Facebook, it will become more expensive to manage.

Image credit: www.ironmonk.net

Image credit: www.ironmonk.net

Facebook is not the only social media site you can take advantage of. Twitter, Instagram and Google+ are good avenues to engage with possible customers.

This article is attempting to present two sides of the coin and is not encouraging you to either use or not use Facebook for your business. Facebook likes are good for business pages, but do not be misled. Do what you need to do but spread out your resources to other social media sites.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.