5 thoughts on “Facebook: Just because I “like” you doesn’t mean I like you

  1. Jenn Mattern says:

    I think it’s important to take it a step further. That 20% isn’t your conversion rate. That’s more like your base audience — comparable to site visitors to your company site or blog.

    The real question is “what goals do you have for that audience or market?” Are you trying to sell them something. Are you trying to influence opinions on a certain issue? Are you trying to get them to take some other action. Getting people to interact (such as visit a Facebook page) isn’t an end goal. It’s a starting place.

    What really matters when it comes to the metrics of this game is the percentage of those people helping you reach your ultimate goals. It doesn’t have to be sales. But without deeper goals than visits, you really don’t have much worth measuring in the first place.

    The simple fact is that people are careless when it comes to social media metrics these days, and that hasn’t changed over the last several years. I still see people looking at both inbound links and pagerank as though they’re separate metrics. I see companies believing that Alexa ranks are a true measure of traffic and popularity (something the webmaster communities have known to be false for years). I see people looking at total friends / followers without bothering to analyze the following / follower ratios (as in how many people care enough about what you have to say to follow / friend you even when they’re not getting that same back-pat in return). I see people measuring popularity but mistakenly referring to it as influence (because apparently it doesn’t matter if it’s false as long as it sounds good). And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sick of it.

    Don’t jump to the conclusion that 4000 fans is about great content. Remember, spammers often get some of the highest “fan” counts. I’m not saying you’re doing this personally, but in the end it’s always going to be easy to hype up your numbers by whoring yourself out. Sadly that’s the turn social media took early on, and as much as I’d like to see that change I don’t think it’s likely (at least not in the near future).

    • abbymalikpr says:

      I love all this thoughtful banter on the Facebook “like” issue! You’re right: we do need to treat our Facebook presence like every other marketing strategy. At my organization (higher education), we monitor each week how many hits our home page gets (we update with stories each Thursday). My question always is: well, how many is good enough? What are we even looking at here? What do we want these people to do once they read this story? Donate money? Apply for admission? Come on a college visit? Once we answer that, then we MUST measure the results, or it’s all for nothing.

      I will give props to a colleague of mine who isn’t whoring himself out when it comes to Twitter. He explores each follower to see if he/she is someone who might actually benefit from his content (not a spammer), and if he smells a spammer, he doesn’t allow the follow. In addition, to be polite in the social media world, he’ll follow only these folks. So, his number of followers always equals his number of followees. (Granted, we aren’t talking about thousands of follows, either, so logically, it’s semi-easy to maintain.)

      Thanks, Jenn, for getting our wheels spinning!

      • Jenn Mattern says:

        Well, I hope you’re not actually tracking “hits.” That’s been a worthless metric for quite a few years now. ;) Pageviews are what matters (hits include every file — so one page could serve a lot of files, like images, and we end up with misleading numbers that way). But anyway….

        You have it exactly right. It’s about having a goal for that traffic, those readers, people who “like” your site, etc. In the end it’s always about conversions. That could be sales conversions for retailers. It might be donations like you mentioned. Or it could be some specific action to further that relationship (like your college visit example). But without those goals, “likes” mean nothing.

        I think a big part of the problem with things like “followers” and “likes” being over-valued is that so many of these so-called social media specialists have no clue what they’re doing when it comes to fundamentals. So they can’t look beyond that surface popularity (when they’re being “liked”). Or it’s an issue of needing to feel validated — and it’s easy to be proud of accumulating a bunch of kudos that means very little when you need some kind of numbers to validate your professional existence to prospective clients. That’s nothing new. It’s been the same story since people started calling themselves “social media experts.” It started way back when Myspace marketing was the hot thing — those who could build the biggest list (no matter the method, and often black hat) were perceived to be the experts. Sadly people still buy into that kind of garbage — just based on FB friends, Twitter followers, etc. New name, same game.

        It sounds like you (unlike many in this area) have the right idea Abby. Measurements mean absolutely nothing without goals to compare them to — and goals that actually matter to the company or organization. If there’s no real return, there’s no value in a business sense. I’d be interested to hear what goals your organization does eventually set when it comes to “likes” or even conversion tracking for site visitors.

  2. Deb Ng says:

    I think each and every like has value as each “like” has the potential to contribute to the end result. Yesterday I likened it to an RSS reader. Just because 5,000 people subscribe to a blog doesn’t mean every person doesn’t read each blog every day. However, each person will most likely read and react at some point. I like to believe my “likes” have value. I don’t blindly click that button. In order for me to want a brand’s statuses to appear in my own status there has to be something about them that I dig. I may not respond to every sale or blog post they put out there, but I will respond at one time or another. The value isn’t in the every time, it’s in the potential and we shouldn’t write off those numbers as insignificant.

  3. Jay Baer says:

    This has gotten easier now that FB is showing you post level engagement metrics. The hard part is still knowing whether the data for your company is any good or not.

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