It's easy to think that if a business page has thousands of likes, they MUST be incredibly successful and have thousands of bookings coming through. When I first started out on Facebook a few years ago, this is exactly what I believed, and back then, it was probably closer to the truth than now. It turns out that while Facebook were allowing your posts to reach up to 14% of your likers a few years ago, nowadays you will be lucky to only reach around 3%. Facebook have been accused of bringing this number down to raise their income from businesses who would now need to Boost their posts and pay for the privilege of reaching their own audience. While this may be true, it really doesn't make much difference. Let me explain why:
Scenario One: Imagine you are a business owner, let's say a baker for example, and you have just started your business and done the same thing EVERYONE ELSE is doing and set yourself up on social media (a good call to get your name out there and to network on a digital level). Now, let's say you are a firm believer that Likes = £££ to your business AND a great reputation. You are desperate to raise those numbers and you start to run Facebook competitions, the kind where you offer a mid to high value freebie once your page hits 500 likes! You see people start to like and share and comment and you know that it's working. People are "talking" about you and your new business, surely some sales and some bookings will come out of this! Then, after a little while, you decide that doing the competitions isn't enough. All you're doing is attracting people who are after the freebies and who don't actually value your time and skill at all, PLUS it's ruddy expensive to keep giving stuff away to raise your likes. So, you decide on something a little more drastic. You have some money burning a hole in your pocket and you find a site that SELLS likes. (That's right. For those that don't know this, you can actually buy likes for your page). So, you spend X amount of ££'s on let's say 1,000 new likes and you sit back and watch that page skyrocket! A few of your original likers comment on how you've suddenly become so popular! You MUST be doing well. You make yourself a cup of tea, pull out the chocolate digestives and have yourself a mini celebration, congratulating yourself on your minor (perceived success).
And then what?
Months go buy and although you are selling some pastries and have a couple of weddings to bake for, your sales aren't really doing much. You look at your number of Likes and you wonder why it's not working. Your page adverts have only received a couple of likes themselves and the queries are minimal.
Here's what is going on:
You now have a staggering amount of what I like to call; "Vanity Likes". On paper, you look ÜBER POPULAR and successful and it makes you feel great! However, a very small proportion of likes on your page are valuable. What you have done, is attracted, or even bought, likes that are simply impressions on a page. They are not quantifiable and they don't actually mean that these people are EVER going to look at your page again. They belong to people who hold little to no value in what you do, who you are or what services or goods you supply. It's a little bit like buying a raffle ticket because you've seen something on the table that you REALLY want! Say there's an iPad as the main prize. Everyone wants an iPad right? So they go and buy shedloads of tickets. Then their mates see the iPad and THEY buy tickets! And so on, and so forth. None of them have really paid attention to what business it was that actually hosted that raffle.... and none of them are likely to go back and use them either. At least, not based on that event.
It's the same thing here. You have likes from people who you may or may not know, from competitions you have run. You have likes that you have bought but you know none of them, and none of them know, or care what you do. So those likes just sit on your page forever (or until they have a clear out and unlike you). What % do you think will come to you and make a booking for your craft? Probably not a lot.
Scenario Two: You are the same, new baker. You have set up your Facebook Page and your lovely friends and family, the ones that actually believe in you and your skill, have all liked it.
You now have seven likes.
A bit sad isn't it?
Maybe it feels that way, BUT what you will see is that their friends will see that your page has been liked by said friend or relative and they may like it themselves, and so it continues. You are much more likely to get engagement from those who have heard through word of mouth or Facebook commenting, recommendation and conversation that your brand is worthy and that you do a good job. THOSE likes are the ones that make a difference. What you DO want, is a smaller audience of authentic likes. Likes from people who WANT to see what you're up to in your business and WANT to have you there on their peripheral in case they need or want to use you at some point. You want to build relationships with other local businesses and with your clients so that your reputation precedes you.
Make no mistake though, a majority of people do like pages for the deals and the offers, but as long as you are not crippling yourself to raise your numbers, that's okay. There is nothing wrong with doing offers to attract bookings. You just want your main clientele to like your page because they like what you have on offer. An old boss of mine used to say "Under promise and over deliver." I've always remembered that. But if you DO make that mistake and mess up, be quick to put your hands up and admit it, to sort the problem quickly and make sure the client leaves as happy as possible. Don't quibble. Don't fuss and most importantly, don't bad-mouth them (at least not publicly anyway)! These are all things that will build your usable client base organically and effectively. Create engaging content so that people like and share it. That's what will get your brand out there and get you more valuable likes. If the baker were to post a high quality tutorial video on how to make the PERFECT, most incredibly tasty looking pastry, you're more likely to get more valuable engagement from people who are interested in it, and in you, than you are if you run another competition. ESPECIALLY if you simultaneously run that tutorial through your YouTube channel, Instagram and Twitter accounts! (But that's a whole other blog subject!) It will take time, but it is important to get your likes for the right reasons.
After all, if you're going to do it, you might as well do it properly....
(Just in case you want to like MY page, HAHA)!