Like for a like threads are ruining your business, not growing it

Warning – this is a controversial outlook and could lead to a new opinion.

One that will grow your audience with die hard fans.

I’m in a few handmade and crafty groups and I see these at least once a day.

“Like my page and I'll like yours”

…….and I silently die a bit inside.

Because like for like threads are not a great way to spend your time. I’d go as far to say that it’s actually harming your business, not growing it.

Think I’m nuts? I’ll explain why.

In Facebook you have organic reach and paid reach. Organic reach is people who currently like your page viewing or interacting with your posts. Paid reach is …. Well, as it sounds reaching people you’ve paid to find, with Facebook Adverts.

Prior to a few changes, back in 2012 the number for organic reach used to be pretty high. Since 2012, 16% of a page’s likes are seeing page posts in their news feed.

And that fraction continues to decline as the years go on. Figures collated in 2014 put this number as low as 2.1% for pages with less than 500k likes, and Facebook has openly said that we should all expect our organic reach to be at zero in the future.

With less fans viewing and interacting with your posts, means fewer people seeing your posts. Bad news huh? Well….maybe.

There could be a huge opportunity here for you to get ahead in the game and leave your competition in your dust, because as far as I’m concerned, you’re here, reading this, educating yourself and you will do better because of it. And trust me, your competitors probably won’t be.

So why is this happening?

Facebook has become a fantastic business tool, and therefore practically every business from multi corporate conglomerates through to the entrepreneur making crafty candles on their kitchen table (aka us) has a Facebook business page.

It’s a pretty crowded place. It’s like being in a pub on a Friday night at 10 mins to last orders trying to get the barmaids attention for your last round. It’s noisy, you’re elbow to elbow with other people all in the same boat as you, and it’s can be a hot sweaty mess if you don’t know how to play the game.

Therefore, as the space has become more crowded it’s been harder to get the barmaid’s attention and simply shouting and hanging around with a tenner in your hand, isn’t getting the same results.

The change has mostly taken place because Facebook wants to avoid seeming spammy, and only showing their users the BEST content in their news feed. By best we mean the pages and posts that interest them the most. It wants to make sure everyone comes back for more.

Back a few years ago I might see an advert for men’s aftershave. Now I see an advert for a sale on the handbag I was just googling. Times have changed. Facebook is the smartest kid on the block.

So, in this crowded place, how do you get seen?

Getting seen by people isn’t about how many likes you have, it’s about engagement and interaction. This is the biggest myth people believe – and this is why “like for a like” posts are harming your business.

Let’s give an example.

Stacey is a stay at home mum to young kids and makes watercolour nursery prints which she sells online on Etsy and Facebook. She has been in business for just over a year and has 800 likes on her Facebook page, but only one or two sales a month. She cannot understand that with 800 likes how her reach is so low – her last post reach was only 56 people – and how she is struggling for sales.

The reason for this is because her 800 likes is giving her a false sense of security. She believes she has 800 fans. WRONG. She has 800 likes, of which a percentage are true fans. The rest are made up of other crafters liking her page with the hope that it will boost her reach. WRONG.

This is why “like for a like” posts actually infuriate me because through the good hearted naivety of the poster, and those who get involved, you are wasting precious time chasing a mirage.

So how do you increase your genuine Facebook likes?

1.      As lovely as they are, stop contributing to “like for a like” threads (obviously unless you genuinely are a fan of someone’s craft and would support them!)

2.      Educate others in the crafter world by sharing this post

3.      Spend your time more wisely where your target customer hangs out (if you don’t know who he or she is, visit this page to learn more). In the example given above for Stacey, she could do really well hanging about in local mum groups or mums to be groups, contributing firstly as a fellow mum and occasionally dropping in a “oh look I happen to have this new watercolour on sale if you know of anyone who wants it” kind of posts

4.      Use Facebook audience to knuckle down on grabbing the attention of your ideal customers and putting an ad infront of them (more on this in another post)

5.      Don’t get fixated with the Facebook like number as it really means nothing. I’d rather have 200 die hard fans than 3000 flakey ones that never respond to my posts or notice anything I put out there. I think it’s pretty obviously which would be more profitable….

6.      It’s better to post lest often and get more engagement then more frequently and get zero engagement.

7.      Remind all your likers that they can update their notification settings from your page