The Anchor: 6 reasons why ‘Likes’ aren’t a good indicator of Facebook popularity

19 Oct,2011

By Rohini Kapur

The Facebook rat race has begun, and everyone’s racing to beat competing brands by gathering as many ‘Likes’ as possible. So while the fight for market share and the next bestselling product rages on, marketers are doing their best to win the Facebook battle. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of brands on Facebook at any given moment vying for your target group’s attention, even as Mark Zuckerberg introduces changes every few weeks. Meanwhile, as Indian users become more discerning online, the number of ‘Likes’ (or fans) on your page has can be quite misleading. The top six reasons your page ‘Likes’ don’t really indicate how many people really like your Facebook page:

#1 ‘Likes’ (or fans, as they were called earlier) are there to win goodies: Let’s face it– most Indians are constantly on the look-out for freebies. From stickers to sunglasses, MP3 players to mobile phones, they will do anything for a chance to win something cool. They may not be interested in your brand or your updates– they are just there to impress their new girl with the free BlackBerry.

#2 ‘Likes’ does not mean engagement: One reason brand managers love the online space is because a user can “engage” or “interact” directly with the brand. Sadly, that’s not always the case. A large number of fans does not always lead to a highly engaged audience. So if you’ve got 1 lakh fans but only 15 comments and 50 likes in response to your updates, it’s time to wonder whether the remaining 95,935 people really bother reading your updates at all.

#3 They like your brand or product, but not your page: Some of the most loved international and Indian brands have just as good pages with updated content, a distinct voice, and a vibrant community. But then there are those with thousands of ‘Likes’ that have run-of-the-mill content, generic updates and somewhat relevant information from time-to-time. The question is– are those people still on the page because they like your brand or because they like your page? There is a small but significant difference here– a consumer may joined your community based on a wonderful experience he had with your product, but is not enjoying the brand story on Facebook.

#4 A fan has forgotten about your page: Very often, a user ‘Likes’ a page because he likes what he sees, but he joins other pages and gets busy with things such as his real life, friends’ kids’ photos and viral videos. As a result, his engagement with the page drops, the page’s Edgerank falls, and the page updates tend to disappear unless the user scrolls all the way down his news feed. If he doesn’t see you updates, do he still like your page?

#5: ‘Likes’ could be lurkers, haters or wannabes: A number of fans on brand pages just want to know what people are saying about the brand, product or service, especially before buying high value products like cars. They want to know product features, new collections, prices, and how the brand responds to complaints about poor service. Similarly, a number of fans are there just to complain. And then there are the wannabes that you are almost everywhere– you see them ‘liking’ every post, competing with others to be the first to comment or advising others. They aren’t really there because they love your page, they are there for timepass on Facebook.

#6: They ‘liked’ your ad, your welcome/ landing tab or the Mallika Sherawat picture you posted: As a reflex action, users have begun seeking the ‘like’ button (or a thumbs up, star etc) online when they see something that amuses, enthralls or captivates them. Pressing the ‘Like’ button on your page could be due to a variety of reasons– the very cool ad they saw on Facebook, the Facebook widget on your website, an attractive landing tab or a hot picture of their favourite actress.

Rohini Kapur works in social media and web strategy and runs a fashion blog.

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One response to “The Anchor: 6 reasons why ‘Likes’ aren’t a good indicator of Facebook popularity”

  1. Palin Ningthoujam says:

    well said, Rohini. But just like we needed ‘visits’ during the dot com era, today I guess it is just ‘likes’. Mark needs something to tap the brands to get to fb and make Facebook very ppopular 🙂

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