Business owners seem to always want more. More followers, more likes, more email subscribes, more numbers. The rationale is that the more people you have the more money you’ll make. I’m certainly of the same mindset as I start and write blog posts and speak to businesses about using the internet to grow their business. I want to share my message with as many people too. It’s just natural to have bigger followings, larger lists, and bigger venues. But I recently had someone ask, “Jonathan, what’s the value of a Facebook Like?”
The question is a valid one. Marketers have to prove conversion rates and return on investment when it comes to a variety of metrics like audience size. Many business owners think that the number of likes or follows indicate that they should be able to sell more, do more, and get more product to people. In this post I’ll share with you some research and my own thoughts.
What’s a Facebook Like?
On Facebook, a Like is when a person, through their personal profile, indicate that they “like” the business’s page through clicking a button. It’s the representation of a psychological action, meaning the person has had a favorable experience with the business, enjoyed seeing a piece of content in their News Feed, or some other positive aspect. It could also mean that they want to learn more about the company or are looking for information. In some cases it might mean that they want to keep up with competition.
The Like Controversy
Many businesses assume that the number of likes they have will be the number of people that will see their content online. While the case certainly could be made that the person who likes the business’s page, should be seeing the business’s content, i.e. all 1,500 likes sees the cat picture the business posts. However, Facebook’s goal is to make an individual’s News Feed a customized experience, not necessarily provide a platform for marketing. By doing so, will predict that some pieces of content aren’t interesting for the individual, so they won’t show that cat picture.
Businesses are challenged then to produce content that is relevant, engaging, and interesting to their “likes”. Businesses can’t just produce crap content, rather they have to court their customers with great content and engaging posts for them.
Likes Create a Connection that is Powerful
Even though a business has to create great and compelling content on their Facebook Page just to get some of their audience to see it, all is not lost. The connection that you now have is a powerful one that you can exploit to your advantage, if you’re smart about it.
Businesses that have say, 1,500 likes on Facebook can use advertising in various forms to reach out to well over that number of people. Create a compelling ad or campaign, and target the people who are friends with the people who like your page. If not that, use other targeting means. What I’m saying is that even though your audience may not see it, those who are connected to your audience may see it too.
Is There a Monetary Value To a Like?
For some, the question of value comes up in terms of a dollar figure. Over time, agencies and researchers have created various valuation schemes for how to ascribe a dollar figure to their Facebook Like.
- Decide on a metric (sales, download a product, etc)
- Create a sample list of customers (i.e. email list)
- Invite half of your list to like your page.
- Check to see if that half liked your page.
- Run some advertising set up to accomplish your metric in step 1.
- Check the results.
In my research there are different methods and ways to ascribe the value of a Facebook like on the monetary end, but they run the gamut. It could be safe to say that it’s not easy to do and so therefore the question is still not answered.
Should I Care?
If it is hard to tell what the value of a Facebook Like is, then should marketers care about growing their Likes on Facebook? I think the answer is always going to be “Yes!”. It’s the goal of marketing to put the product or service to as many people as possible, But, I think too that it’s an important distinction to make that I build my audience strategically and selectively. So yes to adding more people and adding the right people. If I’m a business that is a boutique fashion store I think I’ll get more bang for my advertising buck if I have a pool of customers who are female within the ages of 45-55 who make a certain income and live in a certain area.
While it’s hard to put a real value on a Facebook Like, business owners and marketers need to do what they can to evaluate the audience they have on the social media network. Finally, they need to be strategic in developing an audience that they most want to serve.
Do you agree with my assessment of the Facebook Like? What do you think the value of a Like is on Facebook? Let me know in the comments below!