Stop Tracking Facebook Likes – There are two social media vanity metrics that you need to stop tracking today.
- Facebook Fans (a.k.a. Page Likes)
- Followers (a.k.a. Page Followers)
I know that Facebook and other social media have publicly reported these vanity metrics since 2006. But, they have become totally worthless over the past few years.
And if you continue to use them in your own reports, then you are no better than the frauds, quacks, and charlatans who used to sell “snake oil” as a cure-all elixir for many kinds of physiological problems.
That said, I am still surprised to find how many marketing managers are still tracking Facebook Fans and Followers.
They mistakenly think that reporting these metrics make their social media activities look good to marketing executives, who are still struggling with selecting the right metrics to use as key performance indicators (KPIs).
What’s so Wrong with Tracking Fans & Followers?
These numbers invariably go up in bad months as well as good ones – which is why marketers love these vanity metrics.
They make social media marketing appear to be getting better and better even if or when it isn’t.
It’s the modern equivalent of the phrase coined back in 1920 by Émile Coué, “Every day, and in every way, I am becoming better and better.”
This method of psychotherapy and self-improvement, which was based on optimistic autosuggestion, later became known as the “placebo effect.”
So, why haven’t most marketing executives figured out that they’ve been sold snake oil or given placeboes by now?
Well, they didn’t learn about social media marketing back in the 20th Century when they went to college – because it hadn’t been invented yet.
And they didn’t want to reveal their ignorance and undercut their authority by asking their younger social media marketing managers too many dumb questions.
And then, to make things worse, far too many of these marketing executives mistakenly assumed that the number of Fans and Followers are the number of people who will see each and every one of their posts and tweets.
If you aren’t an exceptional brand, a top influencer, or the current occupant of the White House, then I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings.
You’re lucky if .0035% of your Fans and Followers even sees your post or tweet these days.
Now, this isn’t a new trend. It started back in June 2014, prompting Brian Boland, who leads the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook, to publicly explain why organic reach was declining on the social network.
Back then, an average of 1,500 stories could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they logged onto Facebook. Of those 1,500 stories, News Feed displayed 300.
And that was five years ago.
Since then, organic reach has plummeted like a wounded bird.
That was before algorithm update known as the “Facebook Apocalypse” hit in January 2018, prompting Adam Mosseri, the Head of News Feed for Facebook, to publicly explain:
“Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed. With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.
To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”
“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.” Continue reading