Facebook Is Making People Crazy

If you don't have a facebook page for your business, you're definitely in the minority at this point. (I'm not saying that you have to have one, though. I know of a few very successful businesses who aren't interested in hanging out online all day and who are more into actually doing work.)

Anyway, what I wanted to comment on today is the unhealthy obsession with how many "likes" you have for your business. I've run into more than a few people who are very intelligent, rational human beings, but who go crazy when they see that someone has more likes than they do, or that their likes count has gone up or down.

The issue here is that it really doesn't matter how many likes you have. There are way too many factors involved to say that  million likes are better then a hundred. If you only have a hundred likes, but every single one of those is a paying customer, then you're better off than the person who has a million likes but every single one of those is out of town and not a client.

For argument's sake, let's say that the reason you have a business page is to increase your sales. That would mean that you want people who are potential customers to be the ones who like your page. If people who aren't customers are the majority of the likes that you have, it isn't going to further that goal.

Look at this chart from my facebook admin page. (To get to this click on "see all" on the insights box in your admin panel, then click on the likes tab.) It shows the likes that I have on my page and where they come from. If you expand the list and add up the people who have liked my page and who are from my area, it's a little less than about 20% of the total likes. A lot of those are other wedding businesses, too, not clients. Which is fine for networking purposes.

So that leaves 80% of the likes on my page being from out of my delivery area. In my case that's okay because I also sell on etsy and have things that I do that aren't directly related to delivering cakes (this blog, for instance.) That 80% might also be clients, so if my goal is to further my business then that would be okay.

If my business was ONLY delivering cakes to people in my neighborhood, then I'd need to work on increasing my local reach.

Here's another example, which is the professional association that I'm President of. The statistics for this group are totally different, and they should be.

For this group, we have almost 300 likes, but we don't care if any of them are from out of our area. We're a regional group that has a goal of creating a more professional tone to the wedding businesses in the Richmond region, and that should be where we focus our attention. Sure enough, almost every single like comes from our area, which is exactly how it should be. We're not selling a product, we're selling the group, and the group is local.

Facebook isn't just used to increase sales directly, though. I'd mentioned networking with other local businesses, and it's also good for watching trends and seeing what other decorators worldwide are up to. But spending hours online liking other people's pages in the hopes that they'll like you back can just be wasted time, unless that's your hobby. If you do sell online that might work, but unless you ship products it isn't going to increase your sales.

For my own purposes, I like facebook for amusing conversation with other decorators on my own page, but I don't spend a lot of time roaming around posting on other people's pages. I just don't have time to do that. I'm not worried if I don't get ninety comments on each photo, and I don't really care about the number of likes that I have.

If the pursuit of likes drives you crazy, I suggest that you do the following:

Go to your admin panel where it shows the tabs at the right under the large photo. Likes is put on the top row by default, but if you have more than 4 things to add to the tabs (and I'd add some just so that you can do this) you can move the likes button out of sight. You can still see the number that you have, but it's smaller and it will be less of an aggravation.

Here it is on the top row where it sits to begin with:

See the little arrow at the right of the pinterest logo? You can click on that to open up the bottom row or to hide it. In this photo it's opened up.

Hover your cursor over the top right corner of the box that you want to move, in this case the likes box. A little message box will open up asking which box you want it to switch places with. Choose something in the bottom row. I chose to switch it with the Etsy button.

Now click on the little arrow at the right again to close the bottom row. The bottom buttons will disappear and you won't have to look at the total of your likes glaring at you.

Like I said earlier, you can still see the total if you want to, it's right under the name of the business. But if you do this, you'll kind of forget about checking your likes number in an obsessive way, and it will be much happier for you overall. One less unnecessary thing to worry about.

I will also add here that there are plenty of people who have ten thousand likes, but who are generally creeps. Everyone complains about them behind their backs, but their likes count is way up there. So don't think that a high number makes you a better person, it definitely doesn't!

In the meantime, you can start trying to increase your local reach if that's something that you think would be good for your business. I'll write about ways to do that next week.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA