Why Facebook Page Fans, “Likes” are A Waste

by Toby

February 27, 2015


Have you ever thought that you need to grow your business’ Facebook page fans and “likes”? Have you asked why you would do this? Will this help drive more business?

In many online marketing projects, we work on, eventually, we are asked by the managers or owners, “how can we increase Facebook page ‘likes’ for our page?”

Often they see competitor pages with more fans, and they have fan envy. This eventually leads the owners to ask us, “can we run a ‘like’ campaign to grow our fan base?” Without thinking this through back to the main objective of any business, which is profit, many people correlate Facebook page fans and “likes” with more business success, but nothing could be further from the truth. Have you ever stopped to ask what is the value of a fan, or a “like” and whether you should even pay to acquire fans and “likes”?

What this means is that you have to pay to reach anyone anymore on Facebook whether they are a fan or not, which is fine because Facebook is an effective advertising medium, but see Facebook for what it is – a paid advertising tactic just like Google or any other platform. So there’s no advantage to growing fans from this standpoint. Will-A-Facebook-Fan-Lead-To-More-Business Spoiler alert: For the vast majority of businesses, it’s a complete waste of resources to build Facebook fans beyond some minimum threshold that will pass for social proof. That’s an important point: social proof is the only reason most businesses should invest in page “likes” or fans, and only to a certain amount. After that minimum threshold is reached, your¬†Facebook budget is better spent targeting prospects for leads and sales, driving customers to your website, creating awareness, or other Facebook objectives.

There are many more effective and profitable Facebook objectives than growing your page fans.

If your business only has 20 “likes” that’s probably not enough social proof, meaning, potential customers might question your viability or involvement. How many fans is enough? It depends on the type of business you are in and whether you’re a local or national company. If you’re a local business, you probably don’t need more than 300 or so “likes” or fans – enough so that people can see that you’re a legitimate business. If you’re a national brand, you will need more.

What is a fan?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a fan as:

  • An enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator.
  • An ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit)

A Facebook fan is more widely defined. People become fans of a page for all sorts of reasons, most of which does not mean they are any more likely to buy from you. Post videos of cute cat videos and promote them and I guarantee you will get more fans and “likes.” But it won’t do anything for your business since those people are not any more likely to buy from you. So anybody that “likes” you are not necessarily a customer, and probably won’t be.

What is The Motive Behind a Fan or “Like”?

The reasons behind why someone “likes” your Facebook page or becomes a fan are many, and they most certainly do not all lead to future business. I’m a fan of Red Bull and will “like” its content all day long because it’s wild and incredible – people base jumping, rock climbing, or crazy footage of Felix Baumgartner’s epic free fall from space. But I’ve never purchased a Red Bull drink nor will I ever buy a Red Bull drink (nothing against Red Bull). Why is that? The content Red Bull posts are exciting, but it’s the content I’m endorsing, not the product itself. I’m sure the marketing team would like to believe otherwise. Compare that to GoPro – I will “like” posts by GoPro all day long too, and I’m a fan.

So what’s the difference? The difference is GoPro’s videos are about the product they sell and what you can do with it. The content both companies post is equally exciting to me. GoPro is promoting its product and how it’s used. I didn’t see Felix tipping back a Red Bull right before he jumped from space. Rented-Land-Facebook-Fans

Rented Land

Building a fan base for your company on Facebook is investing resources into rented land – what if Facebook has a mood swing and decides your fans can no longer be accessed, or it is going to cost you three times more to reach them? You have to be careful about investing too much in fans for this reason also. You have to be careful about spending too much on fans for this reason also.

But Advertising to Fans is Cheaper

No, often it is not. I’m sure sometimes it is, and that’s something as a business you should test. But first, ask how did we acquire those fans, to begin with? Our experience with other clients is that we can get lower costs advertising to potential customers at a lower cost when the targeting and messaging are right versus to the business’ fans.

So to wrap this up, Facebook’s entire system is set up to make it easy to “like” pages and stories. Because of this, the intent of those “likes” and fans is not always clear. And the reality is that if you want to reach anyone on Facebook you have to pay to play so you might as well spend those resources in more efficient ways.

About the author 


Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

  • Starnexus says:

    I found for my business facebook was very expensive and I wasn’t getting the best bang for my buck. For me google adwords was the best route as people are already searching for a site when they see your ad. On FB it was a chore to get people off their website onto mine. I couldn’t care less about likes if they’re not ultimately increasing my sales

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