WARNING: Facebook Page Likes Could Be Going Away

It won’t come as a big shock to hear that Facebook is, once again, making some changes.  

And here it is: Facebook started experimenting with eliminating the total number of likes from Pages. Not deleting them all together, but not displaying them on the Page.     

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Photo by Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)

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Photo by Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra)

Whether you discover your Page has been affected yet or not, one thing is pretty clear - this change says a lot about Facebook’s attitude towards Page likes. 

So what’s the message they are trying to get across? 

Stop obsessing about the number of likes your Page has! 

If you’re interested in what a certain Page has to offer, it makes sense to “like” it so you can see it in your newsfeed. But, as we have learned, a Page “like” isn’t always legit and it’s something that Facebook has been contending with for years. 

For example, back in 2014 they took away the “Like Gate” where people could only view content if they “liked” their Page. They also removed the option of holding contests where people were entered to win if they “liked” their Page. 

The truth of the matter is this: just because a Page has a high number of "likes" isn’t a true indicator of it’s popularity or mean it’s trustworthy.  If we don’t know if the likes are real or not, doesn’t that defeat the point of having a like count? 

So how does this mean for you, your Page, and your social media strategy? Let’s take a look…

If you measure your Facebook success on the number of likes your Page has, you’re going to be very disappointed. A company called LocoWise recently did a study that showed “in October 2016, organic reach on Facebook was less than 10% - and that was an IMPROVEMENT over the month before.”

Even more so, they also shared that in October 2016, pages paid for 29% of their overall reach. 

The truth of the matter is this: you can't assume that what you post on Facebook will be seen by all of your fans. It simply doesn’t work like that anymore. 

So what do you do? Here are three simple strategies that you can put into practice: 

Share your posts multiple times

If you’re sharing something on Facebook only once, you are going to miss most of your audience. Remember, less than 10% of your fans actually see your posts in the newsfeed, so you need to share your content again and again over time. You can't assume that Facebook’s algorithm will take care of it for you. 

This isn’t saying you share the same post 4 times in a row on the same day, but rather spread it out over several days. This will ensure that more people will see what you’re posting. 

Invest in some (limited) Facebook Ads  

I'm not a big fan of throwing a bunch of money at ads, but if Facebook is your main social media outlet, this will need to happen from time to time. You might consider buying ads for some key posts to make sure your fans see it. And it’s not as expensive (or as scary) as you might think. Just a few dollars can go a long way. 

The purpose of Facebook ads is not to accumulate more “likes” for your Page - it is to attract the right people to see your content and drive them back to your website. Amy Porterfield is my favorite person to learn more about Facebook ads so be sure to check her out if you need help and direction with ads. 

Create shareable content 

You can't just rely on Facebook to get your content in front of people - you have to share content that your fans will want to share with their connections.  

Knowing what your ideal reader is interested in, what they "like," and what they share is the key you need to reach more people. So don’t just think about what you want to share; think about what your readers will want to share with their connections as well. 

If this change has put you over the edge to make you say, “That’s it! I’m done with Facebook!” don’t throw in the towel quite yet. Remember that Facebook is just testing this so there is no way of knowing if it’s going to effect everyone. And with 1.2 billion daily active users (as of November 2016), you don't want to just abandon the most popular social media platform for removing this metric.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. What you think of this change? Do you think the number of “likes” helps a Page? Or do you think it’s just a point of pride/ego? Let me know in the comments below!