UPDATE: In January 2021, Facebook announced they will be discontinuing the Like button in favour of the Follow button. Going forward people will only have the choice to Follow or not. This is a good thing! No more confusing follows and likes.
Remember how I’m always telling you to use customer questions as a blog topic
? Just yesterday a follower sent me this question “On Facebook, Like vs. Followers, what’s more important?” My response was long enough for a blog post, so why waste it! Thanks to Alex for sending me this question.
What’s the Difference Between Likes and Follows?
Before we can discuss which number is more important, you need to understand Likes vs. Followers.
- A Like is a person who has chosen to attach their name to your Page as a fan.
- A follower is a person who has chosen to receive the updates that you post in their news feed (subject to the Facebook algorithm of course).
The two are independent. A liker/fan can choose to unfollow, i.e. Your mom could like your Page just because it’s your Page, but choose to unfollow because she doesn’t really care about what you’re posting. Similarly, someone could choose to follow the page and get the posts because they want the content, but for whatever reason they do not want their name associated publicly with the Page.
The default when one Likes a new Page includes following. It is a choice to unfollow and/or follow without Liking.
As well, there are levels to the following: See first, default and notifications. See first puts anything that Page posts on top of your newsfeed. Default is “normal”. And then in the notifications, one could actually choose to get a notification every time the Page posts.
Likes vs. Followers, Which is More Important?
Neither really. What is important when looking at Likes vs. Followers is twofold:
- The numbers increase over time, not decrease;
- The gap between Likes and Followers does not increase over time.
In general, you want your fan base to grow over time and you want those people to continue to follow you. If the gap between the numbers is growing, you’re losing people and that’s not good in any scenario.
I guess if I had to choose, I’d say followers are more important because they at least have the potential to see your content, where as those who have chosen to unfollow have decidedly chosen NOT to.
So, What Is Important?
The most important is engagement. The rate at which your audience is engaging with your content. It doesn’t matter if you have 100,000 Likes or Followers if they aren’t actually reading, engaging with and remembering your content.
Post Level Engagement Rate = Number of Engagements / Reach
(or, the number of actions taken on your post divided by the number of people who saw it.)
Agree? Disagree? What is the most important number for you to know when looking at your Facebook metrics? Let me know in the comments.