The growth hacks of Facebook pages seem to come in waves these days, almost like the tide coming in and the tide going out. Whether or not you’ve noticed, you’ve definitely seen these tactics. Suddenly a flood of page like invites hits your notifications. Friends are asking you to like some page you never heard of. You hit the Like button because, why not? It’s not going to hurt anything, and it doesn’t cost you a dime.
You check out the newly Liked page and you see its latest post, which says: “Do us a favor? Go click the three dots on the top right of our page, and click Invite Friends. You can invite all of your friend list to like our page, which will help us out so much!”
On the surface, this seems like a great idea—a quick way to skyrocket the number of people that like your page. Because that’s the only thing that matters, right? A Facebook business page with 1,000 likes is definitely better than the one with 500 likes.
From the page owner’s perspective, this is viewed as an easy way to expand your potential audience. One simple post asking for help from your friends and suddenly you have an extra 200 people that will see your page’s posts, right? For a social media marketer, you’re well on your way to hitting your boss’s goal for the number of page likes you need. But let me tell you one thing:
These Facebook growth hacks are going to do more harm than good.
Now there are exceptions to every rule, but for the most part, getting sympathy page likes—because, in reality, that’s what these are–from your friends and their friends might look good from the outside looking in, but it’s going to wreak havoc for your actual Facebook page effectiveness. Here’s why:
Your friends usually aren’t your customers, and don’t really care about your business. Yes, they want to see you succeed, but they’re not laying in bed every night thinking of a strategy to grow your business like you are. And their friends? They care even less.
From Facebook’s perspective, they’re going to see this growth in new page likes, and the next few pieces of content that you publish will probably see a higher reach. After all, there is new people for Facebook to spread that content to, and because they liked your page, they should also like your content.
Except they probably won’t.
Your friends and their friends liked your Facebook business page out of sympathy and because they wanted a notification to go away. The chances of them actually enjoying and consuming your content are small. If and when they see it on their news feed, they’ll probably keep scrolling. And Facebook will notice that.
Your engagement ratio will go down. If you used to have 50 likes on your page and got 3 shares on a post, your engagement rate for shares was 6%. If your “growth hack” doubled your page likes to 100, but you still only got 3 shares on a post, suddenly your engagement rate for shares is down to 3%.
In the eyes of the Facebook algorithm, you’re not posting quality content, and it’s going to steadily decrease your organic reach. It will slowly stop distributing your content to your audience because they have shown that they don’t care to see it. And you could be posting top notch, high quality stuff, but Facebook has no idea of knowing because you have effectively killed your audience.
So think about this the next time you decide to throw out a “growth hack” strategy on social media. As I’ve said before, the social media marketing game is a long-term play, and taking shortcuts to grow is going to hurt you over time.
At the end of the day, I’d rather have a page with a super engaged audience of 500 likes than a non-engaged page with 5,000.