As I work with clients on developing their digital marketing plans, one of the most common questions I receive is “how many ‘likes’ should I have on my Facebook page?” I always find this question a good opportunity to take clients through the importance of targeting in social media. It isn’t the number of fans, likes, or followers you have, it’s where they are and what you’re doing with them.
On Facebook, there are some great companies to look at and follow especially when a business is looking to get started. The problem, though, is I think sometimes examples like Ford, Oreos, Skittles, and Coke, builds delusions of grandeur or unrealistic expectations for businesses. Let’s face it, unless you have a multi-million dollar marketing budget and a nationally recognized brand, you are probably not going to have hundreds of thousands of Facebook Likes. To help put numbers into perspective a bit, here are some stats from a study the Sysomos did in November 2009:
- 4% of pages have more than 10,000 fans
- 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans
- 77% of pages have less than 1,000 fans
- 35% of pages have less than 100 fans
You wouldn’t purchase a TV ad in another state…
After setting some expectations for total likes on Facebook based on research into the client’s customers and Internet users around their target sales areas and demographics, I am sometimes presented with examples from the client’s competitors who use some other services available who have thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of likes on Facebook. While initially this seems like a great thing, I typically start digging a bit to show them where these likes come from. Many times a significant amount of the likes are from users in different states or countries.
An example of this comes from a client’s competitor that is using a service that uses various social games and giveaways to increase the number of likes to the page. When looking at their latest contest, the top three players were from Malaysia, Florida, and Minnesota. The client is a local car dealer in Connecticut! Granted, having a large number of fans might make a page more appealing to gain future fans, how is having users to communicate with all over the country going to help the local dealer sell more product? The dealer would never pay for a television or newspaper ad in another country, so why market to them on Facebook?
When 5 Facebook Likes are Better Than 5,000
So when does having 5 Facebook likes matter more than 5,000 likes? It is when those 5 users are part of your target demographic. Is it hard to get those targeted fans? It can be but if you have proper listening as part of your digital marketing strategy, you’ll be able to find these customers and successfully reach them without worrying about the other semi-irrelevant 4,995.