How much should you obsess over your Facebook follower numbers?

It’s so easy getting bogged down and even a little bit obsessed with the number of Facebook followers your page has, but how important are your page likes to your brand? 

Importance of Facebook page likes 2015

Declining organic reach

You might have noticed your post reach numbers plummet over the last couple of years. The proportion of those who like your page seeing your posts in their newsfeeds has dropped enormously, for two main reasons:

1.       Facebook needs to find a way to stop users’ newsfeed from getting too overcrowded with page posts – especially as there’s more brands competing to get their posts on newsfeeds:

2.       Facebook went on the stock market: at the end of the day Facebook is a business and needs to make money, and it’s trying to do that by getting you to pay to increase your post reach.

Social Media Specialist Jay Baer shows how declining reach relates to Facebook’s stock prices:


Facebook reach vs stock prices

Research by Ogilvy shows Facebook post reach has been declining for quite some time now, and even pages with a large follower base are only reaching a very small portion of their actual followers:

Average organic reach of Facebook brand pages

 So whilst you might have worked hard growing your page followers, the proportion of followers you’re actually speaking to is very small and probably still declining.

Does that mean the number of people who like your page is irrelevant?


Well depends who you ask and what your business goals are. Personally I think they still matter.

Ultimately they give anyone researching your brand social proof. The number of followers you have shows your potential customers that your brand is legitimate and worth following.

While Marketers may be aware of the decline in reach, regular users of Social Media may not. To them, knowing that x amount of people opted-in to receive your content shows that you’re a brand worth paying attention to.

But if you’re using Facebook to amplify your content…

Facebook favouring user content

You might need to think more strategically. Facebook is favouring user content over brand content and is cutting reach from promotional posts. So any posts that Facebook deems to be a sales post won’t be shown to that many people.

There are ways to get more organic reach on your Facebook post – by getting lots of engagement. If a Facebook post gets a lot of likes, comments and shares then Facebook will show it to more people.
So you might want to spend more time writing your Facebook post. Think about the copy you use and the media you use. Does it resonate with people? Does it cause an emotional reaction? Is it reactive enough?

The age old rule that images get more reach than any other type has been thrown out of the window this year as well, with many claiming that image posts actually get the least amount of reach now! (Compared to video posts and link posts).

So rather than focusing on the type of Facebook post you should be writing, try and spend more time thinking about how best to get people to fall in love with your content. The best way to do that is to evoke some sort of emotional response from them. 

Get people to seek you out

You could try and go a step further with social media and try and make your content so awesome that people actually seek out your Facebook page so that they can see your latest posts.

For example: if you are an Ecommerce store, you might post voucher codes on your Facebook page, and users might try and find your page to get a cheap deal. If you’re a fashion brand, you could post the latest fashion trends and outfit ideas based on the clothes’ available at your store; so that again your customers have a reason to regularly check your page.  

Follower counts don’t matter when it comes to Facebook advertising

Don’t underestimate Facebook’s advertising platform – it could be your secret weapon this year. It’s low cost, and gives you opportunities to be highly targeted. We’ve seen a lot of awesome things happening with our clients when we run Facebook ads for them.

For one client – who started with only a very small budget and low page follower count, we drastically increased revenue from their Facebook page.

Revenue from Facebook advertising

In Conclusion

Facebook likes do matter, depending on what your goals are. If your primary goal on Facebook is to increase your Social Proof, then Facebook likes are going to be very important for you.

But if you use Facebook for brand awareness or to get as many people to see your content as possible, then perhaps page likes are secondary to post engagement. And if you’re using Facebook as a medium for advertising, then again, page likes may be less important to you compared to the success of your ads.
Facebook is, at the end of the day a social media platform, and from some users’ perspective, the amount of page likes you have may be of some importance to them, regardless of your brand goals on Facebook.

So our best advice:

If page likes are the most important for you: Try and think carefully about every piece of content you post, is it on brand, are your followers going to engage with it, and is it going to evoke (a positive) reaction from them?
If page likes are a little less important: keep an eye on your follower count, and try to increase it – perhaps not overtly, but don’t ignore your page counts all together either. As mentioned before, they’re a great way for people to see how genuine your brand is – this is especially true if you are a new brand.
 

Your Turn

Have your own thoughts on Facebook page likes? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.
Need help with your Social Media goals and seeing how Facebook advertising can work for you? Give us a call: 01483 424 460
 

References:

Jay Bear: This Chart Explains the Reachpocalypse and Why Facebook is Laughing all the way to the Bank  

Ogilvy: Facebook Zero: Considering Life after the Demise of Organic Reach

Business Insider: Posting a photo is the worst way to get people to see your Facebook posts

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