In a world of metrics and data and inflated senses of self, many companies (and individuals for that matter) are obsessed with their social media acceptance. I once overheard a conversation where one of the parties said, “If I don’t get at least 20 “Likes” on a photo I post on Instagram, I take it down.” I laughed. And not because I thought it was funny, but because I thought it was utterly ridiculous.
The first “Like” on Facebook happened in February of 2009. Likes help Facebook determine where a post shows up in a newsfeed, and also show your friends and your followers just how cool you are (this last part was written sarcastically). It’s simple to do, and it’s also something incredibly easy to measure.
But are Likes really as important as some may think? Probably not. But it’s easy to think they are. More is usually viewed as better – especially when it comes to things like this. But here are some things you should have that are even more important than a bunch of likes:
A network of loyal followers. Brand loyalty is so important nowadays. The days of a truly individualized experience are long gone. A truly differentiated product or service is hard to come by anymore, so competition in the marketplace is inevitable. Likes don’t generate revenue, but really engaged followers might. They’re the ones who will actually click on your links and hit the donate buttons. They’ll share your info with their networks with a call to action to help your organizations. So your priority shouldn’t be landing a bunch of likes – the priority should be landing meaningful likes. Which leads me to the next point…
Compelling content to keep your followers engaged. You should absolutely strive to keep your followers engaged. Engaging content will vary based on the social media platform you’re using and the audience you’re reaching, but generic things like really catchy campaigns that pluck the emotional strings, perfect timing and delivery of content, and simple and interactive posts are tried and true for most organizations. If you don’t have the budget to hire someone to help you with this, look for someone who’s searching for pro-bono work, or consider using your volunteers as a soundboard for potential content ideas.
An audience who actually reads what you post. I’m always fascinated when I watch my friends scroll through Facebook or Instagram and they have their thumb poised and ready to Like. Half the time, I think it’s their loyalty to the brand that makes them like, leading that brand to believe their content is actually compelling. I’ve had plenty of personal posts totally bomb on the Like front, but when I see someone from my network in person, the first thing they talk about is that particular post. That’s an Impression, people. And it’s more valuable than someone carelessly clicking Like.