The Downside of Facebook Like Ladders
I know how lonely Facebook can be… When you created your business Facebook page, perhaps you envisioned lively conversation on topics about birth and postpartum. You’d share a great resource, your page fans would like, comment and share, and your number of likes would grow grow grow. This is, in theory, how Facebook is meant to work.
The catch being the new(ish) Facebook algorithm that only shows your average post by default to maybe 2 – 5% of your audience. So if you have 37 followers, this means just .74 – 1.85 people are going to inherently see that post. With 300 followers, this results in a base audience of 6 – 15 people. Unless you pay to promote your post, your chances of a high level of interaction are unfortunately pretty low. (There are of course exceptions to this if you happen to post something truly awesome that people share like wildfire).
So I get why it is really really tempting to join or create a Facebook “like ladder” on one of the many doula and childbirth profession support groups out there. Basically a bunch of birth pros will share their pages, and you are all supposed to “like” each other.
The rationale seems pretty straightforward:
more fans >> more likes, shares & comments >> more visibility!
Some have called this approach Facebook “suicide”, which might be a bit dramatic – but it definitely has a major downside.
Here’s the deal with those facebook like ladders:
Your goal with Facebook is not to have a gazillion likes.
The reality is that most of those likes you’re getting on the like ladder are from people you don’t know who are nowhere close to you geographically. They are most likely “liking” you in order to have you like them back, and are very unlikely to be your number one fans… They have no solid rationale to comment on your posts or share them, and likely have followed many other pages as well, resulting in an overwhelm of doula-themed posts in their feed. As well, most of the content you are sharing is likely targeting pregnant or postpartum families – not birth professionals – so the 100 doulas who liked you in that like ladder are going to be far less likely to engage.
It is way better to have 100 likes from people who are truly interested in your business and what you have to offer.
Aside from the radio silence of all these new “fans”, you run a few other very significant risks:
1. Those new fans may quickly “unlike” you or hide you from their feed. Facebook tracks this, and if you have a higher rate of unlikes or hides, they are going to decrease your post visibility accordingly.
2. All those likes from people who aren’t likely to engage on your page means that the total % of participation on your page will decrease. When Google sees a low rate of sharing and commenting on a page with lots of followers, it can serve as a warning sign to Facebook and lead them to lower your visibility ranking for future posts.
3. If you do Facebook advertising, you are paying based on your base audience size. This means money wasted on fans who are not likely to purchase your services!
Your goal is to have fans who Want to engage, are excited about what you have to share, and are motivated to share the love with their friends. Ultimately you are looking to build, maintain and grow relationships through social media.
So what should your facebook strategy be?
1) Understand your audience’s interests and needs to help shape your content strategy.
2) Create quality content that encourages engagement and sharing.
3) Follow other local and national birth and postpartum companies that you admire as your page and engage them them! Comment on their posts, share their content… Over time they will notice your engagement and hopefully return the favor.
4) If you need to quickly build your page presence, why not do a paid Facebook ad targeting your local market?
*THE EXCEPTION: You could do a like ladder effectively if… you identify a core group of professionals whose practice styles and target audiences are aligned with your own. If you all make the commitment to engage on each others’ pages and share content, then this could potentially help your rankings with Facebook. This would be even more effective if done within your local community so that when they share your content, local families are learning about your practice.
**NOTE: If you’ve done like ladders in the past and have an inflated number of likes that are not engaged, unfortunately it is impossible to remove these “likes” from your page fans. Your best strategy is to really focus on your content, and perhaps take some time each week to engage on the pages of some of those who have liked you – perhaps encouraging them to pay closer attention to your content as well!
***MORE RESOURCES: Be sure to also enjoy this blog post: helpful tips to save you time on facebook.