I know you’ve seen it. All over the place. Businesses putting a “Like us on Facebook” banner or button on all kinds of things — print ads, TV advertising, on signs in retail stores, on websites, email messages, everywhere. Maybe you’ve even taken the time to like a brand on Facebook.
But, do customers really feel like expending the effort needed to find the brand on Facebook, especially when asked in a physical space rather than being presented with an easy-to-use button?
A bigger question, however, is what benefit do you get from building a large following on any social media platform. Metrics regarding the size of your social platform, something most experts call vanity metrics, have little to do with your success. Wasting time, effort, and money to drive improvements in your vanity metrics may make you feel good (and, your boss might show approval for this), but, like all waste in an organization, results in fewer resources available for actions that actually improve performance.
My question is how successful are these ubiquitous “Like us on Facebook” buttons screaming at viewers?
WHY like us on Facebook?
Maybe the bigger question is WHY is the Like us on Facebook button so ineffective? Lots of reasons. For instance, the buttons slow down your site, something that’s increasingly important for ranking in search, as well as the user experience. Visitors won’t wait long for your pages to load.
Moreover, research suggests there’s a strong social component to clicking the button, with the result that a like loses its correlation with anything valuable for a company, since a click is more a function of social pressure (both in terms of clicking and not clicking) that an affinity (or lack thereof) for the brand.
Facebook isn’t even crazy about the like button and, as recently as July of this year, experimented with removing it from brand pages.
Plus, there are lots of other reasons to eliminate your social buttons. Let’s explore some of them.
1. Social media marketing is MARKETING
Social media marketing requires a deep knowledge of marketing. Just setting up a Facebook page and integrating a Like Us or Share button won’t get you very far, so using your IT department to manage your page won’t do the trick.
Besides, sending traffic away from your website, to a social media platform, detracts from your conversion and reduces time-on-site, as well as other metrics critical for your SEO, thus pushing your content lower in the search results. Add this to the dismal performance of content posted on Facebook and you now have a strong argument for eliminating that button. Notice in the image below, the organic reach of content, especially for small brands, now approaches 0 as results continued to decline in the intervening years since this study was published. Not surprising when you consider Facebook only makes money from advertising and organic reach is simply a way to continue growing the platform.
But, social media marketing requires a lot more than marketing. It requires technical knowledge, the ability to analyze business analytics, especially digital analytics, and a natural ability to be social — talk to people and make them feel part of a community.
Putting a button on your website or other promotional materials, or a share button on your website does little to nothing and may cause more damage than benefit. Instead, you must generate engagement, as we discuss below.
2. STOP talking about yourself
Another failure I see on Facebook Fan pages is firms see it as just another channel for public relations and advertising. Epic fail.
I mean pick a Facebook page at random — I don’t want to embarrass anyone, so I won’t point to some of the worst offenders — and you’ll find it full of self-promotion. You find a lot of stuff about their products and how wonderful they are. You find posts about their events and activities. But, you won’t see anything you might find interesting, entertaining, or informative. Nothing valuable.
In contrast, look at the Facebook page for Talenti — a high-end gelato and sorbet. While they have a small number of Facebook fans, their wall shows significant engagement — post likes, comments, and shares. In fact, they show engagement higher than many larger brands with much larger numbers of fans.
Engagement is the key to success in social media, including Facebook, since engagement expands the reach of your messaging. Every time a Facebook user engages with a brand, their engagement reaches some of their connections, although Facebook seriously changed the algorithm controlling who among your friends sees your engagement thus reducing your organic reach and explaining the curve shown earlier.
Listening and responding encourages engagement, as does sharing interesting information, graphics, and memes.
So, what’s Talenti’s secret? Their posts are fun, interesting, and about YOU, not them. They generously post coupons and created apps like a wheel to help you decide which flavor to eat.
Value of a Facebook Fan?
In fact, a recent compilation by Business Insider shows the value of a Facebook fan varies from $0 to $214.81.
Why the huge difference in these estimates? Mainly because there’s a wide variation in how well businesses use their Facebook page.
I talked a little about this above — too few Facebook pages provide any real value to fans.
Other reasons for a wide variation in the value of a Facebook fan include:
- variations in how well managers manage their Facebook page. Some managers GET it and some don’t. Some managers actively manage their pages to create engagement by responding to comments, encouraging influencers to become Fans, and posting valuable created and curated content on a consistent basis in a form that optimizes the platform.
- variations in success in converting Facebook Fans. Since you can’t sell directly on Facebook very easily, especially as a B2B firm, you must send traffic from your Facebook page to your website if you want to increase sales. Hence, you need to get your Facebook Fans to do something to make money — usually, either going to your website or a retail store where they can buy your brand. If you’re a B2B firm, you’re hoping Facebook Fans sign up to generate leads for your sales force. Integrations between sales software, such as Salesforce, work with your social platforms to enhance the marketability of your social media connections.
- poor promotion. Facebook uses an algorithm that determines whether your post will show on the wall of your fans. Managers need to understand the algorithm and effectively employ tactics that optimize their ability to appear on Fans’ walls.
- understanding analytics. Many community managers in charge of Facebook pages don’t understand how to interpret Facebook Insights and make decisions to improve the performance of their Facebook pages. Some managers don’t even LOOK at these analytics or try to use them to improve their pages.
How to promote your Facebook page?
But, Facebook has made it MUCH harder to promote your pages without spending a little money. I guess it’s a function of Facebook stockholders who want to see some dividends. Hence, advertising on Facebook is necessary to reach your goals.
Here’s a post from Social Media Examiner on how to promote your Facebook Page.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to optimize the ROI from my client’s Facebook Pages. Plus, here’s a great post on how to increase your ROI by using Facebook ads effectively.
I use primarily promoted posts since I see a bigger ROI from these ads than through creating ads for Facebook. Here’s some of my advice:
- Dribble out your spending. This allows you to make adjustments based on what you learned in the first day or so after promoting the post.
- Carefully consider WHO sees your ad. Facebook allows very good tools for selecting the target audience for your ad. Use them.
- Track performance. Formalize your evaluation of the results and record insights and recommendations for improvements. Track how successful your post was and which target markets performed the best — not just in terms of getting more fans, but in terms of engagement and conversion. Sometimes you’ll find you get lower engagement or new fans from a target, but greater conversion — which is the name of the game. Be sure to track performance in terms of time/ day and composition of the post.
- If you’re going to use a Facebook page, understand what it takes to make it successful, and provide the resources needed to make it successful.
- Recognize social media ISN’T public relations or advertising. Make it personal, valuable, and visual.
- Measure, analyze, decide — review metrics, develop insights, and make decisions based on these insights.
- By the way, LIKE US ON FACEBOOK, LOL.
Need marketing help to support business growth?
We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies. Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.
Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.