Any social media kid out there worth their salt will tell you that “likes don’t matter.” I even wrote a post over a year ago to explore “Life Beyond the Like.” We all throw hissy fits every time the number of Facebook likes is used as a measure of success in a case study and rail against the c-suite when they tell us that they want to reach a certain number of likes for this campaign.
But at the risk of having the social media kids come out of the woodwork, let me tell you something: Likes matter.
Back off a second and allow me to explain, will ya? You can’t tell me that you haven’t looked at a client’s or potential client’s or even a competitor’s Facebook page and said to yourself, “Hmmmm, they only have XX likes? That sucks.” You can’t tell me that the Chevy Camaro people don’t want more likes than the Ford Mustang people. Or that AT&T wants more likes than Verizon. Or that at least one metric of that project you did for your client isn’t the number of “likes” you garnered.
Let’s face it: People “like” your page if you have led them there because of a promotion. Or because they’ve been a loyal, lifetime customer. Or simply because you’re a beloved brand. Or because you’re “cool” and people want to be associated with you. Just like the people who have huge numbers of followers on Twitter tell you that the number of followers don’t matter, the same goes for Facebook. But it’s a lie. They do matter. Because it’s a measurement of visits and eyeballs. Yes, research shows that on average, only 1% of people who “like” a page interact with that brand on a regular basis on FB. I hear you. I feel your disappointment.
Instead, let’s start thinking about the “like” as either the beginning of a journey for some, or a point in time of a journey for others. What comes before? What comes after? How does that online action lead to offline word of mouth? There are many other variables, but a “like” is one of them.
In other words, “likes” matter. But so do a lot of other things in the mix. So before you go off on another rant about 1% engagement rates and the ROI of someone clicking that “like” button, think about how “likes” are table stakes now. They are expected. They are a part of what not only we are judged on, but what our client is judged on as well. Let me reiterate: it’s not the ONLY thing, or even a really IMPORTANT thing, but it’s a thing. So deal with it.