The Facebook Page Like Scandal: You Have Been Lied To!

A non-occult related post – addressed to other members of the Indie Author Community who use Facebook Pages.


I am the manager of a Facebook Page – a page to promote myself as an author (see here). I come into contact with other indie authors who are in the same position as me – who also have their own Facebook pages. Recently, I have seen a lot of concern within the community that the average reach of each post on our FB pages – as a % of the total number of Page Likes – has noticeably decreased since this time last year, or before.

This has led to a lot of people in the community wanting to complain to Facebook itself, as if it is FB’s fault. Whilst technically FB could do something about it if they tried to, we are in fact missing the point. What I believe is the true situation is that we find ourselves in this position due to our own past actions.

FACT: in about August 2012, a movement began on Facebook of creating “Like Pages for Like” groups – i.e. post a link to any page which you managed in the group, expecting its members to Like it, on the understanding that you would return the favour. What a good idea, we all thought at the time. I hold my hands up myself to this – I did not realise what the implications would be, so I participated in it myself at the time. I saw the Like counter on my own page rocket up, and I thought “whoo!” – and so did many others.


However, when I was watching the above video, (what I now believe to be) the truth dawned on me, viz:

When you add 1000 Likes (or any number for that matter) who have no intention of engaging with your Page, you are actually Decreasing your Page’s popularity rather than Increasing it.

It works like this. When you post anything to your page, Facebook with all its evil machinations will only bother to make sure it’s seen by a ridiculously small number of people, determined arbitrarily. However, if that small number of people actively engage with the post by liking it, commenting on it, and / or sharing it, the post’s reach grows. If on the other hand that small number of people immediately ignore it, that post’s reach atrophies and dies.

Hence, if the vast majority of people who supposedly “Like” your page don’t actually read your posts, you will inevitably see your reach shrivel and die. This has led me to propose the following radical solution to the Facebook Page Like Scandal. It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but stay with me for the moment. It is this:

INSTEAD OF ATTEMPTING TO MAXIMISE YOUR NUMBER OF PAGE LIKES, YOU SHOULD IN FACT DO THE OPPOSITE: DECREASE THEM – TO THE MINIMUM WHERE YOUR PAGE BECOMES AN EFFECTIVE MARKETING TOOL.

Yes! This is why I say in the title to this blog post “You Have Been Lied To,” because there are self-appointed marketing Gurus who try to sell people the idea that maximising Page Likes is the be-all-and-end-all. Wrong. You should only try to maximise the number of genuine fans for your page – people who are willing to engage with it. All the rest are worse than useless, they are negative influences in your pages popularity.

Take two Facebook pages, one with 100 likes, and the other with 1000 likes. Unfortunately, however, 900 of the second page’s fans are not particularly interested, whilst all of the former have a past-record of engaging with the page’s posts. Each page has effectively the same number of real fans, but in the former case there is a 100% chance that the page’s post will have a higher than usual reach, whilst in the latter there is a 90% chance that it will have a lower than usual reach. A page which limits itself only to genuine fans is a more effective marketing tool than a page with a larger number of redundant Likes.

Hence, here are my Dos and Don’ts:

DO:

  • As an author, encourage actual customers to like your Page – by including the Page address within the book. If they have already paid to read you, they are more likely to invest their time and effort into your fan page.
  • Encourage people who have engaged with you in the past to Like your page.
  • Limit invites to like your page to those in the field of interest relevant to your book.
  • Controversial one here – go into your page’s settings and  block it from being seen in known Link-Farm countries. See the Video above. You ought to know which countries your books actually sell in – authors with KDP will find that Amazon actually tells you. If, therefore, you have a suspiciously large number of “Likes” in places like Papua New Guinea or the Philippines, but don’t recall ever having sold a book there, you know what to do. FYI, the countries named and shamed in the video above are Egypt, India, Nepal. Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. There may be others, so be vigilant.
  • Get rid of suppose Fans whom you acquired through artificial Liking-schemes in the past. This is tricky because it may mean having to go into the Likes list of your page – several times – to de-select them one by one. The alternative is to
  • Be prepared to bite the bullet and start again with a new Page – but done properly this time.
  • Only post content that people are likely to engage with – i.e. in the form of sharing, commenting and liking. My current best reach, purely organic, for a post is 25% of the Page’s total likes, mainly because it was shared a lot and got a lot of people talking. One can’t really complain about a low organic reach if an given update is not actually that interesting.

DO NOT:

  • Use “Link Farm” sites (see the video featured above), which “illegitimately” increase your Page Likes in return for money.
  • Pay Facebook to advertise for more likes – because, as the video above implies, Facebook are effectively using Link Farms as well!
  • Participate in “Like Page For Like” groups or events.
  • Like a page unless you actively intend to engage with the posts on it.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Facebook Page Like Scandal: You Have Been Lied To!

  1. Ooh, I too fell into the trap of “you like my page, I’ll like yours” back in 2011-12. Thanks for sharing this Alex, I haven’t paid for any FB campaigns or click farms, but at least now I understand more about the mechanism from a business perspective.

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