Why Likes can be bad for your Facebook page

When someone ‘likes’ your Facebook business page, they become a ‘fan’.  And it’s always great to have more fans, right? Well, depending on your goals, the answer to this can be yes or no.

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Set your goals

What do you think makes your Facebook page successful? Having a lot of ‘Likes’? Or increasing the number of sales in your store? It’s important to realize that these 2 metrics do not always go hand in hand.

If your main aims are to:

  • Spread word-of-mouth about your shop
  • Get more potential customers to visit your page
  • Increase your sales

Then you need you be very careful about the quality of the ‘Likes’ you are gathering.

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Gathering ‘Likes’ from people who do not regularly interact with (click on) or engage with (like, share, comment on) your content can actually hurt these aims.

In order to understand this better, you need to know a little bit about Edgerank.

Edgerank is the formula used by Facebook to determine how many of your fans get to see your posts in their newsfeed (wall). The most important factor determining Edgerank is user engagement.

To put it simply, if your fans regularly engage with your content, your Edgerank will improve and more of your fans will start to see your posts in their newsfeeds (your ‘reach’ will increase).

And the reverse is true as well – if your fans don’t engage with your page, your Edgerank will go down and fewer fans will see your future posts (your ‘reach’ will decrease).


The right kinda ‘Likes’

Improving Edgerank should be of vital importance to any business. And to this end, quality of ‘Likes’ trumps quantity every time.

By this I mean that it’s better to have fewer, but deeply engaged fans, than a large number of indifferent fans.

Let’s understand this by looking at a couple of hypothetical examples. In both examples, you write a post telling customers about an upcoming sale.


Example 1:

You have 100 fans. You have not solicited these ‘Likes’, they are all from existing or potential customers.

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Let’s see what this means for yours post:

1. Relevant audience: Based on Edgerank, Facebook randomly chooses 15% of your fans to show this post to. Since all your fans are customers, it doesn’t matter which 15 fans get this post in their newsfeed. All of them are likely to be interested in this content and visit your shop to take advantage of the sale.

2. Engaged audience: Your customers are more likely to be excited about a sale that you are having. They may like, share or comment on your post. This will improve your Edgerank and next time Facebook may show your posts to 20% of your fans instead of 15%.

3. Visibility: As your fans engage with your post, this appears in the newsfeed of their friends who may click through to your page. This spreads the word about your business.

Example 2:

You have 100 fans. Some of these are customers, but many are people who you have just exchanged ‘Likes’ with or acquaintances who you have requested ‘Like’ your page.

How would the same post work in this case?

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1. Wasted message: Facebook randomly chooses which of your fans get to see your posts, you have no control over this. So if the wrong 15 people see your post, they will simply ignore your coupon.

At the same time, the interested customers who would otherwise have seen (and maybe used) your coupon do not get it in their activity feed – a wasted opportunity for you.

2. Low interaction: Fans who are not genuinely interested in your page or products will not engage much with your posts. This will affect your Edgerank adversely. Next time only 10 people may get to see your post.

3. Negative feedback (hide post, report as spam, unlike page): A fan who is not a customer is less likely to be interested in your posts than someone who is looking to buy from you. They may find your marketing messages intrusive and start hiding your posts. Any such negative feedback from these fans will hurt your Edgerank even more than lack of engagement does.

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Getting ‘Likes’ on your Facebook page has many advantages:

1. Spreads your message: the more ‘Likes’ you have on the page, the more people get to see your posts and marketing messages.

2. Spreads the word about you: When a fan engages with your posts, this message is seen by some of their friends. If the friends have similar tastes, they may click through to your business page.

3. Builds trust: When a new visitor comes to your page and sees a large number of ‘Likes’, she may be more inclined to trust your brand.

4. Feels good: Let’s just admit it, we all love getting a new ‘Like’. It’s a validation of what we’re doing.

However, you need to be careful that you are gathering the right kind of likes, otherwise just collecting fans could actually hurt you.

Takeaway: When trying to increase your ‘Likes’, make sure that you are focussing on your target market – people who will be interested in your content and will engage with it regularly.

See 8 ways to make your Facebook page more engaging for tips on what to post on Facebook.

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