Likes vs. Followers, what's more important?

Facebook Likes vs. Followers, What’s More Important?

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 mutually exclusive. 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.
screenshot likes vs followers button
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.

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Likes vs. Followers, Which is More Important?

Neither really. What is important when looking at Likes vs. Followers is twofold:
  1. The numbers increase over time, not decrease;
  2. 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.
Engagement Rate = Reach/Number of Engagements
(or, the number of people who saw the post divided by the number of actions taken on the post.)
Agree? Disagree? What is the most important number for you to know when looking at your Facebook metrics? Let me know in the comments.

Comments (18)

  • Darryl Reply

    Thank you, your definition on likes vs followers FINILY makes some sense, I think . Can you expand on “engagement”?

    August 23, 2018 at 11:01 am
    • Anita Kirkbride
      Anita Kirkbride Reply

      Hi Darryl,

      Happy to have helped out! Engagement refers to the activity of your followers on the page (or anyone who sees a post, really). If they like the post, or comment, or share, that’s “engagement”. If you put out content that gets a lot of that activity your content is “engaging”. When tracking measurement you want to see the numbers improving, not declining…although picking a specific number isn’t necessary. You’re not aiming for, say, 10% engagement rate, but rather to have an engagement rate that is continually improving. Hope that helps!

      August 23, 2018 at 3:53 pm
  • Joel Reply

    So, if you look at a Facebook Page and see that 643 people like the Page, and 639 people follow the Page, it doesn’t mean the Page has 1,282 total people interested in the Page, correct? If you’re telling someone how many “followers” you have, you would just use the higher of the two numbers, 643. Is that right?

    September 27, 2018 at 9:40 pm
    • Anita Kirkbride
      Anita Kirkbride Reply

      You got it! You could use either number really, depending on what you’re trying to prove, but definitely one or the other, don’t add them together. Thanks for reading and asking a question!

      September 27, 2018 at 9:47 pm
  • Fiona Reply

    Thanks for your post. So, it confirms what I believe. No matter how many likers and followers there are, they need to be actively engaging with me. A reach of 250 and an engagement of 52 as a percentages is 20% which is 1 in 5. I should be really with that, right?
    What about those social media experts who say that we should take the total number of followers and then look for 1% of those engaging as a minimum to be on track? How much truth is there to that? Anything above that would be good.
    My feeling is that there are still many skeletons in my following from many years and lots are just to lazy to sign off, so it artificially boosts my numbers. I’ve sort of given up on paying attention to total numbers although Facebook sees it a sign that people love your page. To me engagement is all. Any feedback welcome. Thanks.

    October 26, 2018 at 5:55 pm
    • Anita Kirkbride
      Anita Kirkbride Reply

      Yes, I’d say you should be happy with that if it’s happening on a regular basis! I’m not personally big on specific percentages…it’s so dependent on industry and niche and the content. I prefer to simply look for my numbers to be going in the right direction. If they’re consistently getting better then I must be doing something right. If they’re getting worse, then something is off. I think that’s more important than trying to reach a specific percentage that someone, somewhere thinks is good. Thanks for stopping by to read and engage!

      October 28, 2018 at 3:41 pm
  • Gary Holden Reply

    I disagree with your thought about “The gap between Likes and Followers does not increase over time”. In some cases such as ours, the gap does increase due to the fact that we have people that want to see our content and not have other people they communicate with on FB to know. Any “Like” is public knowledge but a follow is not known to the public on FB. So for those unique businesses such as ours, you will see the gap grow over time.

    November 7, 2018 at 4:52 pm
    • Anita Kirkbride
      Anita Kirkbride Reply

      Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule. I can think of many topics that people may want to follow quietly or unseen. However, it is untrue to say “any like is public knowledge”. It is possible, and actually highly recommended, you make your Likes lists private. This prevents you being “outed” for liking a page. So while most likes are public knowledge, there are ways to prevent that. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment.

      November 8, 2018 at 9:10 am
  • Eric Caudle Reply

    Your competition will often follow you and not like. Same goes for your own executives, managers, etc. For the accounts I manage, the number of followers that don’t like remain relatively small, but there are always some.

    December 18, 2018 at 1:32 pm
    • Anita Kirkbride
      Anita Kirkbride Reply

      Yes, there are lots of reasons why people would Follow and not Like. I would hope your Executives and Managers would Like your Page, though! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

      December 19, 2018 at 8:19 am
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    December 19, 2018 at 5:28 am
    • Anita Kirkbride
      Anita Kirkbride Reply

      This is a custom-built site on The trick to making WordPress not look like everything out there is to work with a good designer 🙂 Thanks for stopping in!

      December 19, 2018 at 8:21 am
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  • Tatianna Reply

    Hi, Thank you!!

    I have a question that really confusing me.
    I do have almost 20k followers on my Facebook page, but I have very limited likes on my posts. Usually less then 10.
    I don’t understand where is the problem. Why my posts not reaching to all my followers?
    Thank you!!

    September 2, 2019 at 2:59 pm
    • Anita Kirkbride
      Anita Kirkbride Reply

      Hi Tatianna, There are a few reasons for this… the big one being that Facebook simply doesn’t show your content to everyone, even if they’ve chosen to follow your page. On a Page where your likes were acquired legitimately (not bought), you can expect about 1-4 % of your fans to see a post. On 20K fans that would be 200-500 people seeing a post. And then the percentage of those who see it that will click like or leave a comment is even smaller. If you bought your fans these numbers would be even smaller as the accounts won’t be real and won’t engage. The longer you go with less engagement, the less engagement you will receive and the fewer people will see your content, and it becomes a never-ending downward spiral. The only solutions are to create really engaging content and/or to pay to advertise your best content to get more engagement.

      September 3, 2019 at 9:55 am
  • Asia's Records Book Reply

    Hi! Thank You for your nice reply. Rather I checked with many but didn’t receive such a to the point reply. Great!

    October 7, 2019 at 5:35 am
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