I have to admit I’ve always believed that the name of the Facebook game is to get as many likes for a page as possible. After all, the more likers you have, the more sets of eye you have for your posts, right? Makes sense.
A client recently asked me whether LIKES, comments or SHARES were more important to marketing efforts on Facebook. Hmmm, that got me thinking. My conclusion, after some serious online research and garnering wisdom from gurus such as Justin Seeley, was that Facebook marketing is no longer all about the LIKES, but rather all about the SHARES that your content receives.
It appears logical that the more LIKES you have, the better off you are, because your potential audience is bigger. True. But… you have to understand how Facebook works. No matter how many likes you have, Facebook only puts your post in front of approx. 10% of your audience based on their ‘secret’ algorithm. Of course you can pay to “boost” your post and show it to more people. More people might see your post, but will that make them interact with it in any way? On the other hand, if someone SHARES your post, they’re not only putting their stamp of approval on it, but they’re also sharing it with their friends, who may also share it with their friends, and so on. This is what we call viral content, which is essentially the “holy grail” of online marketing!
What’s a Facebook LIKE?
The LIKE is the most convenient form of interaction on Facebook. All it takes is a quick press of a button and then you can keep scrolling. Your fans are not engaging with you in the same way a comment will, and they’re not sharing your post with others or increasing your audience in any way. A LIKE is simply an impersonal way of saying “yep, I saw it…” and nothing more. LIKES are dispensed randomly and extensively these days and are not really a good indication of whether a person really values your post. Some would argue LIKES have lost their lustre.
Why SHARES are gold
I’m very careful with what I SHARE on Facebook. I want to make sure my friends and fans will value the content of the post I’m sharing and I think they do the same before deciding to SHARE it on their own timeline. They aren’t going to SHARE something they don’t think others will find interesting and useful, so that’s why I think a SHARE is the best metric for judging how effective your social media efforts are on Facebook.
It’s a numbers game…
Let’s say you create an Instagram video and share it on Facebook. You have 1,000 people who like your page, so that means approx. 100 of them will see the post (by way of the “secret” algorithm). Even if everyone of those 100 people see and like your post, you have exactly that, 100 likes. Whereas if out of those same 100 people, one of them shares your post with their 500 friends (the average for most Facebook users these days), and out of those 500 people 100 people see it, you’ve just doubled your viewing audience. If you could get 1 of those 500 people to share your post with their list of friends, you’ve just tripled your viewers without spending a single cent. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Social media is all about how many sets of eyes see any given piece of content that you post. To be successful you can either pay for it by “boosting” your post (which is still a good option when you're just starting out and haven't got a lot of fans yet), or create share-worthy content.
So, “How do I Create Content that Others Will Share?” I hear you ask…
This is the million dollar question for social media marketers! I don’t think there is a magic formula for creating viral content. However, I recently came across an infographic “How to Create Perfect Posts on Social Platforms” created by My Clever Agency and I’ve included it for your viewing pleasure!
Author: Jody Sharpe, Sharpe Design Solutions
Jody Sharpe has over 20 years experience in marketing & branding and is passionate about helping local small businesses grow.