There Is No Reason To Like A Facebook Page

by · July 23, 201416 comments

Full disclosure: I “like” 256 brand pages on Facebook. Further disclosure: I actually don’t like how the majority of those 256 Pages are using Facebook. A cursory glance shows that many of these Pages haven’t posted a thing in several months, and many, many more haven’t posted an interesting thing in a much longer than that. So why am I participating in such massive apathy and fraud? Why am I acting like I care when I really don’t? Why am I doing a disservice to so many Social managers and brands? Indifference and laziness, mostly. But today, I quit, and I’m calling you to the carpet, too.

Facebook_Love-or-UnlikeYour “like” means nothing; choose a different lane

Facebook gives us three options when interacting with a Page. You can passively not like (or actively Unlike) a Page, you can Like it and send up another ‘whatevs’ into the universe, or you can choose to Get Notifications, which I refer to as “Love”. But let’s get real and decide that you really only have two options: Unlike or Love. Why? Because Liking a Page breaks the system; it’s a thumbs-middle, and a thumbs-middle is a vote of apathy. A Like says I’ll call you later, even though you won’t. A Like tells a Brand that you are on their side, even though you aren’t. A Like means nothing from you, does nothing for them, and is a worthless exchange of nothingness. Don’t exchange nothingness.

Understand what your “like” refers to

Yes, I get that you like Brand X. You buy the clothes or visit the restaurant or have a friend who works at the business. That’s awesome, and Brand X appreciates your purchases/visits/support in the real world. But on Facebook, it’s not about the brand; it’s about what the brand is doing on Social. My question to you is not whether or not you like Brand X; it’s whether or not you like Brand X’s Facebook Page and the work they are doing there. If “yes”, then choose Love; if “no”, then choose that lane and Unlike their Page.

The Consumer side argument

Do Brands want more Facebook fans? Absolutely! As long as every Social manager’s analytics are trending up-and-to-the-right, they’re happy. What does that mean? It means that the brand will continue to do as they are currently doing. Likes are votes, and as long as the votes are in support of the Page, the Page will continue to be what it is. If this is what you want, then choose Love. Choose to get notifications from those Pages, consume their content regularly, and engage with them when you feel inspired. Show your support with Love. But if you aren’t 100% happy with what you are receiving from a Page, let them know. Take a deep breath, and choose Unlike (it’s not irreversible). When a brand continues to see its audience shrink, it will change course, it will work harder, and it will ultimately be better for it. And you will receive less of what you don’t care about, so there’s that. Love and show support, or Unlike and move on. It’s how the consumer-brand relationship is supposed to work, so let’s do it right.

The Brand side argument

Yes, brands want more fans, but that is oversimplifying. What brands really want are more engaged fans, more happy fans, more tuned-in fans. If you are not on board and completely in support of a Facebook Page, disconnect from it. The upside for the brand is hearing from their audience; seeing votes that demand change or, at least some effort, is an important blip on their weekly report. Another upside is that the fewer apathetic Likes a brand has, the better chance it has to reach those who really do care. As we all know, Facebook can be a bit tight with Page reach, so do the brand a favor and get out of the way; stop taking up a spot, if you aren’t really interested. And if you are? Love that Page! It’s the best option for you and the best option for them. If you truly care about a brand, do it a favor and choose to see all of their content. Brands post to Facebook for a reason; don’t let an algorithm get between you and them. You can choose to see, or not see, what a brand is doing in Social, so make the choice.

It’s not a movement, it’s a choice

How many brands show up in your news feed every day? Better yet, how many non-sponsored, non-promoted updates do you get from your chosen brands in a week? I certainly don’t hear from all of my 256, and neither do you. Facebook is not set up for a Like to have any real impact, so don’t participate. If you truly, truly like a brand and how they use Social, then Love them. Choose to be an active participant, enjoy their Social channel, and make their presence matter. On the flip side, if you are in the ‘whatevs’ camp, disconnect.

There is no special hashtag for this and no certain day to get on board. This is not a call for a movement, nor is it a revolution meant to send a larger message. Instead, this is personal. This is a consumer and a brand advocate asking you to help fix the system. Visit your own Likes (prepared to be overwhelmed by what you see), and turn your apathy into action: https://www.facebook.com/search/me/pages-liked. The choices are not always easy, but at least actively make the choice. Turn your thumbs-middles into meaningful votes, and let brands know whether you support their Social efforts or not. In the end, it’s a win-win for both parties.

Do you agree that Love or Unlike are your only options? I could be convinced that Likes are important, so tell me why. I’d love to read your comments as I take a break from my 256-Page Unlike-or-Love challenge. What are your reasons for simply Liking a brand page?

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About Matt Hollowell

Matt Hollowell

Matt is a lifelong student of design, marketing, publishing, and content creation. His passion sits at the intersection of content and design; in fact, you can often find him there with a cup of coffee in one hand and a notepad in the other. As SME's Creative Director, he supports both the brand and clients, which helps to satisfy his lifelong love of never knowing what's coming next. When not at his desk, you'll find Matt serenading his two amazing daughters, reading gritty British poetry, or obsessively listening to podcasts. Send him your podcast reccs here: @mhollowell.

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/joshlight/ Josh Light

    The only time I “like” something that I don’t actually like is when a friend is doing something interesting (like launching a business, or starting a blog). For the me the “like” is for emotional support. It says…you’re trying something new, and I can get behind that. I like to think that it carries value outside of marketing.

    I also think that it really doesn’t matter if we “unlike” pages that we’ve “liked” in the past. Facebook’s algorithm figures out what we want to see anyways.

    I do agree that if you want to see something from a brand in your newsfeed that you should engage with that brand. This sends a positive signal to Facebook to show that brand more (I think).

    • http://www.hellosocialmarketing.com Matt Hollowell

      Josh, totally digging on the emotional support angle. During my challenge, I’ve run across this very thing, where a friend has a business, and, though I don’t really want to see everything s/he posts, I also don’t want to seem unsupportive. This is an interesting dilemma and goes back to the very question of what the “like” button (on its own) is for. Good call!

      And if you aren’t engaging at all with a Page, it’s true that disconnecting from it likely won’t affect your newsfeed, as you probably aren’t seeing their content in the first place. Valid points, and I truly appreciate you taking the time to post them! Good food for thought.

      • http://www.linkedin.com/in/joshlight/ Josh Light

        Thanks Matt. It was a good article. Fun to think about things like “likes”…haha.

    • http://www.socialidentities.com Hugh Briss

      No, Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t figure it out anyway. When you hide posts or all posts or unlike a Page it learns.

      • http://www.linkedin.com/in/joshlight/ Josh Light

        Hey Hugh. I appreciate your response, but I have to respectfully disagree.

        No one really knows what variables impact what appears in Facebook newsfeeds except probably a handful people who work at Facebook. Everything on the web (that I’ve read) is merely speculation.

        We do know that Facebook’s new algorithm supposedly has hundreds of variables. An action variable (hiding posts, unliking, etc) could be just as relevant as an inaction variable (not engaging, not visiting a page, etc)….we don’t know the weights.

        My speculation is based on my own personal experience. The only fan pages I see are the ones I engage with. Everything else is lost….which is why I inserted a “(I think)” in my response.

        • Robin S

          ok then.

  • http://www.socialidentities.com Hugh Briss

    Good post but too bad you didn’t explain the Get Notifications and adding to lists options since that’s the only way to see most of a Pages posts and if you “love” them you would want to.

    • http://www.hellosocialmarketing.com Matt Hollowell

      Great points, Hugh. Lists are greatly under-utilized by many, myself included. Expanding on these two options could be a great future blog post, so I appreciate you bringing it up! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

      • http://www.socialidentities.com Hugh Briss

        I’m lucky enough to run Pages that attract fans that are Facebook savvy and understand how the News Feed algorithm affects what they see, but sadly, as you say, the average user is completely unaware the algorithm even exists or if they do, don’t use the options available to them to ensure they do see more posts.

        I wrote a blog post on the Get Notifications and lists options recently and was amazed at how many people new we could turn on Get Notifications for Pages but had no clue it was also an option for friends.

        • Robin S

          And even though you try to educate some of these clods they are suspicious and apathetic.

  • http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/captiveinflorida Jane Eskay Waldmann

    what? there is no love button. And I like pages not just because i like their “page” but because i want to get them in my newsfeed and follow them daily or weekly whatever.

    • http://www.hellosocialmarketing.com Matt Hollowell

      Jane, my version of the Love button is the Get Notifications option (see it by hovering over “Like” on any page that you are connected to). My argument is that if you really want to follow a page, that’s the only option that truly allows you to do that. By simply Liking a page, you are showing support, for sure (and that’s great), but you miss most of their posts because of how FB works. To totally support a Page, Loving (or choosing to Get Notifications) is the best option. Does that make sense? If so, what are your thoughts on Liking vs. Loving?

  • Robin S

    Excellent !

  • Robin S

    So can we ask people to love us or stuff it where the sun don’t shine? (please say yes!)

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  • Casey Ohman

    As a student, currently studying social media marketing, I completely agree with the message you are saying here. As consumers, we should not Like any pages unless we actually agree with what that brand is doing socially. If they are not actually engaging you and if you do not actually care then your Like should not exist. Letting a brand know they need to do more to keep your attention by “unliking” them can lead to them developing better social strategies that can lead to you opting back in to “liking” them one day. I also agree that becoming an active participant with a brand you Love is much more beneficial in the long run than giving a brand a Like and never engaging that brand any further.