Very often you’ll see your local restaurant, shop or small business running a like and share competition on Facebook, that is, share a particular post, like the company’s page and be in for a chance to win a prize or maybe a gift voucher.
To put it simply, this is one of the worst strategies you can employ to build up your social media following and we’ll go on to explain why.
Every medium you use to market your products and services will come with its own set of key performance indicators (KPIs), let’s take email as an initial example; a list size, open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate and so on. All important KPIs in their own right, but if you had a list size of 100,000 but your open rate hovered around 1%, that’s not going to do you a lot of good.
Now let’s take cost-per-click advertising, their KPIs would be; impressions, clicks, conversions and bounce rate. Again, let’s say you’re advertising a product for sale and you receive 100,000 impressions but your click-through rate is below 1%, you’re probably going to receive no conversions with such a small segment of people.
Can you see the pattern? A like and share competition is what we call a “spray and pray” campaign, a completely non-targeted advertising campaign that devalues the worth of your product (you’re giving something away for free for very minimal effort) all in the name of likes. Facebook page likes are the list sizes of emails and the impression counts of online adverts, great to have in large numbers but if the supporting KPIs that follow don’t stack up, it’s a big waste of money.
So why don’t they work?
For one, we all have that friend that only uses Facebook for like and share competitions, as a result we engage with them less and Facebook’s algorithm certainly picks up on that and then they appear on your feed less.
For a second, if fifty of your friends like and share the same competition on your feed, you won’t see it fifty times, Facebook will amalgamate it into one post; “John and 49 other friends shared this post”.
And the third? This is the big one; when the competition is over, you’re now left with 1,000 new people in your audience that couldn’t care less about what you’re doing, they just wanted the free gift voucher. So now, when you start posting your regular news on Facebook, your overall engagement rate is going to decrease and as a result, Facebook will be less inclined to show your posts organically on people’s feeds.
“But it’s free”, I hear you cry? Nothing is free, you’re still offering a £100 gift voucher or a free night’s stay or an iPad etc., all of which come at a cost.
“But it was seen by 40,000 people!”, there aren’t even 40,000 Guernsey residents on Facebook, what good is reaching an audience in the UK or further afield if you can’t export your product or service?
The end result is that a like & share competition is far more costly than you may realise; the initial cost of the prize, plus the cost of the future drop in performance on your Facebook page and finally the ongoing cost of running more competitions like this as you don’t have a quality or engaged audience.
So what should you do instead?
- Create content that people want to see; run a restaurant? Share pictures of new dishes, share exclusive recipes, invite them to exclusive events. Run an estate agency? Share interesting facts about the property market, answer burning questions, show a different side to a property.
- Utilise Facebook advertising. Facebook advertising is one of the cheapest and most accurate ways you can market your business in Guernsey, with the possibility to reach over half of the local population for just a few pounds a day.
- Ultimately, stop looking at the number of likes your page has as an isolated measurement of success, it’s of no use to you whatsoever. Yes it’s great if it goes up, but only if everything else goes up too.