The Anatomy of a Facebook Like

They used to be called “fans,” but now they are simply Facebook users who “Like” your Facebook page. (For simplicity’s sake, I will be referring to them as fans.) But how do you get them? When a Facebook user visits your page, what they see there will convince them to Like it…or not. After all, PC Magazine posted an infographic that shows that purchase intent is increased by more than 50% when someone chooses to follow your brand in social media, and social media makes marketing efforts more effective, as well. So just what is it that turns your customers or potential customers into Facebook fans?

Social Media Today talks about how a formula to calculate customer conversion can also calculate Facebook fan conversion. It has to do with motivation, incentive, anxiety, friction, and your value proposition. There are a lot of technical things going on in there, but what it all boils do to is whether or not a user decides that what you have to offer via your Facebook page is worth their effort. What will they get out of it? And will those benefits outweigh any potential downside? Of course, on Facebook, this decision is made within a matter of seconds.

What’s in it for them?

You actually have to have something they like – something that engages them. Facebook is not a tool to find new customers. Its a tool to engage your current ones. When people like your Facebook page, what they are really saying is “I like your business.” – Scot Schechner from WeeklyTap

People don’t Like a Facebook page unless they can see some sort of benefit. Do you offer special discounts to your Facebook fans? Exclusive contests? Content and information they can’t get anywhere else? Access to the decision maker(s) at your business for customer service or other reasons? You have to offer something that your target audience will find valuable. If you’re unsure of what that is, you can always ask your existing fans why they Liked your page in the first place. Facebook Questions makes it easy to poll people in an accessible and relatively unintrusive way. (Just remember to uncheck the option that allows users to add their own poll options… That almost always ends badly. Ask for comments if people choose “Other” instead.)

What’s the downside?

Are you inadvertently creating barriers between your brand and potential fans? I asked people what makes them decide NOT to Like a Facebook page they otherwise might have hit the Like button. Lack of engagement, pushing a personal agenda, unoriginal or poorly written content, posting too often, and “drama” were all cited as turnoffs when it comes to Liking a Facebook page. Users don’t want a brand’s updates to take over their Facebook stream, and they don’t want irrelevant posts from brands, either. But you don’t have to take my word for it…

I had to unlike a business page for a product that I would otherwise quite happily buy on a regular basis because they were constantly posting those same spammy motivational/joke/puzzle meme images that we’ve all seen a million times before. I’m sure the owner of the small biz who runs that page has read somewhere that boosting engagement on FB by getting people to like or comment on your posts is the key to improving visibility in fans’ news feed, but when he’s posting 3 or four of these unrelated memes per day it’s not worth sticking around for the couple of times a week that they might actually post an update about their business or a discount code.

The real key is to make sure your posts have something to do with your business and respond to the reason people liked your page in the first place. We get enough spammy, “How many likes for this kitten in a bucket?” posts from our friends. We don’t need them from business pages as well. – Ken Jones

In terms of business pages, one-way communication. Some companies engage. Others use their Facebook pages like print ads or commercials, posting their own message, ignoring their fans. Have they forgotten that Facebook is a “social” media? – Sherry Gray

Status updates that are poorly written, with grammar or spelling mistakes or any other kind of typo. Status updates that have no point other than the page owner felt like they needed to update their status. – Lori Bourne

Tips for making your Facebook page Like-able

So what’s a Facebook page owner to do? Here are a few suggestions for getting users to click that Like button:

  • Know what your fans want, and make sure your cover photo, tabs, and updates all fit that image.
  • Make sure users can see the value in Liking your page; any available discounts, contests, and exclusive offers should be visibly advertised at first glance.
  • Don’t require ridiculously long or complicated forms to participate in Facebook offerings.
  • Include calls to action in your page updates to encourage interaction.
  • Don’t be spammy. How would you react if your page was for someone else’s brand? If you wouldn’t want to see it, neither will your potential fans.
  • Think before you post to your Facebook page.
  • Be positive. Unless you happen to be a blogger who is known appreciated for ranting and spouting off, no one will Like your brand page if they see you griping, complaining, preaching, or badmouthing your competitors.
  • Don’t sell to your fans. Use Facebook to engage with your customers. No one wants to be pitched on Facebook. (Offering discounts is different.)
  • Use analytics to see what is working and what isn’t. You can use Facebook Insights to see how your content performed on Facebook itself. You can analyze your referrer data to determine how much traffic you’re driving to your website from Facebook.

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