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Friday, September 22, 2023

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Likes Are Not Loves – How To Waste Time "Marketing" In Facebook

I heard the other day that if someone “Likes” your Facebook business page, they’re over 90% likely to never look at it again.

Wow.  90% is a lot! We could assume that’s exaggerated by ½, but 45% is still a lot. When a website’s conversion rate is a fraction of its actual traffic – a significant loss of engagement is rough, let’s hope you didn’t pay a ton of money to get all of those Likes.

This statistic, combined with the disturbing trends in today’s Facebook business strategies worries me – it really worries me. I’m disturbed by the complete lack of understanding within business America that a “Like” doesn’t equal “Love” and it certainly doesn’t equal revenue.

At Pubcon in 2009, Lee Odden said your Social Media channels should be akin to your email or telephone. Tracking the ROI of having a telephone is arguably pretty silly; a phone is a cost of doing business – what legitimate company doesn’t have a phone?

Facebook is a communication medium. Its job is to communicate with your potential client or customer. Your job as a business page owner is to be human, be professional, engage, and let your potential client base know who you are as a company and what you do.

A Clickable webcast I attended last week indicated that sales speak should be about 10% of your overall content strategy on Facebook. While I agree with that, as a marketer there is a very wide gap between a promotional post and a completely un-related piece of drivel like “click ‘Like’ if you’re wearing flip flops.”  Now, if you’re a company that sells shoes or flip flops, that might be something related.  If you’re a vacation rental company or you sell computers, it’s crazy.

We have a few clients that signed on with a social media company who gains “Likes” for their Facebook page. I’m not going to mention their name here; I honestly don’t want them to get any more business until they improve the quality of Likes they gain for our clients.

Most clients pay this company between $1,000 and $3,000 dollars a month and this company increases their “Likes” exponentially. It works; they do gain these clients thousands of Likes in a very short period of time (two to four months.)   Most of the posts that gain these Likes are similar to those pictured above – 4 or 5 of these a day – sometimes posted within seconds of each other at 6am.

Great – you have a lot of Likes. Likes you gained with inane questions such as “Click Like if you’re glad its Friday” or “Click Like if you want to go to the beach.”  Here’s my problem with this….they have no increase in measurable business for this strategy. One client’s visits from Facebook have gone up quite a bit, a 2x increase (full disclosure: 2x means from  60 visits a month to 120 visits a month – lame).

Here’s the reality, bounce rate for Facebook visitors went from around 7% to 37% – a 600+% change! What the heck? Time on site and pages per visit also went down by double digit percentages. If a visitor from a referrer used to spend 8.5 minutes on your site, landing on the same page the whole time, and they now spend 2.3 minutes – there’s something wrong with your traffic quality.

It’s the nature of the animal for some marketers to try to exploit what works…and what people will pay them to do. Adding keywords to a page resulted in great HotBot rankings until HotBot died and Yahoo & Google got smart to keyword stuffing. Links from crappy resources aren’t working anymore, metatags are arguably not very powerful ranking factors anymore….so someone exploiting Facebook to increase your “Likes” is not a stretch.

The problem is – the poor messaging and engagement will lead to people just not listening anymore – and pretty soon, Facebook won’t even have the potential to make money for your business. Is that what you want?

My ranting aside – there are right and wrong ways to use Facebook. The above is the wrong way – the right way is actually quite simple – engage and converse with your fans.

Here are some tips for making your Facebook presence worth liking, worth loving and worth buying from.

  • Converse with your fans – answer their questions, be engaging and helpful.
  • Give them something worth reading and responding to – post facts that they’ll find useful along with deals and specials they’ll be happy to engage with. Include a link to either a Facebook Tab where they can get the deal’s information or a link to your website to get them into the buying funnel.
  • Keep overt sales speak to 10% of your message. That means for every 9 conversation/engagement posts you share, you can add one sales pitch, special offer, reason to choose your business over the competition.
  • Testimonials are great – ask your Facebook customers to share their experience with your other Facebook fans. In the “thank you for purchasing” email, offer them a link to share their experience. The “Share” button is a great addition to your reservation or sale confirmation page.
  • Customize the experience. Design pages that are 500px wide and frame them in on your Facebook page to use as landing pages for Facebook Ads, Contests, Welcome pages, etc.  In Facebook settings you can set which “Landing page” to use for all visitors to your specific business page.

So here’s my bottom line – if you’re going to do it – do it right.

Artificial inflation of your “Likes” does not mean you’re going to make more money because people “trust” you more. They’re going to look at your page with nothing very interesting on it, and wonder what you did to get all those likes, and probably walk away. Do it right, grow slowly, but grow a base of “likes” that will be brand advocates, customers, and cheerleaders.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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