Why You Need To Stop Asking For Facebook Page Likes

Updated 3 June 2019

To be clear, page likes still carry value. The critical piece to understand is the number of likes is worthless unless they are targeted. It’s not how many likes you have. It’s who likes your page. Likes have little marketing value if they are all from people who have no interest in your product or service.

You need a targeted audience to see your message if you expect to convert. Most marketers understand this concept when it comes to traditional approaches, yet they and the average small business owner, seem to think numbers matter more for social media marketing.

They ask EVERYONE to like their pages. There is this belief that by doing so they will get more exposure.

The problem – the practice does more to potentially hurt the brand and their efforts.

The algorithm

We can argue that Facebook’s algorithm is hurting us by reducing ‘reach’ and how many see our posts, yet in fact, it is helping us – especially those of us who understand marketing.

The point of Facebook’s algorithm isn’t to be punitive. It’s designed to be corrective. It is designed to benefit the user, to show them what they want to see, what is truly relevant to them.

Think about what you see and interact with in your feed. That content is either something of real interest or top of mind. You may see the rest, but you’ll likely skip it. Facebook sees this. In an attempt to not waste your time, they track your behavior on the platform (what you post, your likes, comments, shares) and on Google (via a tracking pixel and other data gathering techniques).

This data allows them to determine what content is most relevant – or important – to you. It is this content you see.

What this means for your brand

If you, as a user limit your activity to only what is important or relevant to you, and you see less of what isn’t, the same applies for your fans.

If you ask everyone to like your page, you can expect most will never see your content. Asking people to like your page out of courtesy or support may seem like a good idea, but where is the value to you when you get nothing from it?

There is the argument that the larger the following or fan base, the more credibility a brand has. That MAY be the case though we’d argue the opposite.

Why would I choose to spend my money with them?

The point is how the brand is perceived. As likely as it is that a large following could be seen as being more credible, a closer look could show the opposite.

Ideal would be a large following and a strong engagement rate. That will never happen from randomly asking for likes.

The danger in asking for random ‘Likes’

Facebook is aware of our behavior. They are aware of the practice in asking for likes.

It is not unreasonable to theorize they also see who we are asking. There is enough data to show the likes being requested are from people who would never find the content we share as relevant and therefore, likely never see in a feed.

The question is, how is Facebook treating the practice? They could see it as nothing more than poor marketing and letting the lack of reach be the negative to the brand. Or it could be penalizing the brand’s page.

That not seem logical until you consider that Facebook could see asking for likes as an attempt to ‘beat the algorithm’. Given that many ask for those likes for that very reason, they’d be justified. There is still an unknown as to how this practice affects paid results and could reduce ad income for Facebook.

Facebook’s response to the practice

Facebook hasn’t stated they are taking action or penalizing brands for the practice, yet based on evidence over the past couple of years with pages we follow, we have little doubt they are.

How are they responding? By further limiting the reach of content from those brand pages. The algorithm already limits reach based on relevance. What we suspect Facebook has done is add another layer into the algorithm.

Google’s search algorithm is essentially layered as well – will content rank and will it stay ranked. Most content creators and SEO types are so focused on earning a place on page one that they fail to consider one key factor.

Will it convert?

That is critical. Content which fails to convert or does so at such a nominal level, indicates it has little value (it’s immaterial if it does or the meta description fails to indicate it does). In time, that content will drop from search results pages.

Our theory is that Facebook sees pages with a high fan base having little relevant connection to the published content as so unlikely to convert, that the content will never be shown – even if it is valuable, timely, shareable, and potentially relevant to some.

Should you stop asking for likes

Absolutely not! You need to stop asking anyone and everyone to like your page.

Start targeting those who will naturally find your content relevant.

You’ll see a smaller fan base, yet more engagement and a better conversion rate. You’ll reach the RIGHT people.

Long-term, these fans will, through their actions on and interaction with your page help drive your following organically. Add in quality social networking and you’ll see results.

All without pestering your friends!

11 replies
  1. facebook
    facebook says:

    Actually there are two types of Facebook “like”. sometime people only like without any intention just for invitation or goodwill that is no matter.
    But the “like” which is given by actual audience is matter of fact. We could be in touch with our actual audience by this. Sometime people buy ” like”but this is not organic way to reach your audience. you need to do follow up with your audience by analysis. make attractive business page. post video,photo, right good content these are the things which are actually help to get organic like.

  2. Debra A. Jason
    Debra A. Jason says:

    For a while many folks would “like” my page and then say, “Hi, I liked yours now will you like mine?”
    I’d prefer to have people like my page because they resonate with my message and get value from what I share – not because they only want someone to go and ‘like’ their own page. I believe in reciprocity, but it’s also important to like those pages because you truly “like” them and the information they share.

    • Robert Nissenbaum
      Robert Nissenbaum says:

      I used to see that as well. It was a nice little tactic to get likes. And I agree, I would also prefer likes because my content provides value to them. There is definitely a fine balance between liking a page for reciprocity (the relationship factor) and liking pages for the value (what would be beneficial to them in the long term).

      Thank you Debra

  3. carolstephen
    carolstephen says:

    Hi Robert,

    You certainly don’t want people to feel obligated to like your page. I sometimes like pages out of obligation as well, even though I may have zero interest in the subject matter. And sometimes I wince at the kind of content that people post–so much so that I hide certain posts. I’m sure I’m not alone in doing that.

    Good analysis.

    Thank you,

    • Robert Nissenbaum
      Robert Nissenbaum says:

      Thank you Carol. I think we all like pages out of obligation at some point. You did illustrate another great reason NOT to ask people. If they do like your page and see the content, hiding posts and especially hiding all posts is sending negative feedback to Facebook. That feedback can lead to fewer seeing the content – especially if it comes from a fan!


  4. Deborah L. Olive
    Deborah L. Olive says:

    Robert, I appreciate your line of questioning and unique conclusions regarding social media. You’re thoughts help me engage social media with greater intention. Over time that adds up to better results.

  5. Clement Lim
    Clement Lim says:

    Hi Robert

    Excellent article!

    Very interesting that Facebook’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to detect the difference between organic and inorganic likes. I see it as a positive development. It forces digital marketers to focus on producing quality content instead of trying to game the system.

    I see a parallel in the field of SEO where Google has been moving in this direction for some time now.



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