Tuesday 29 January 2013

How Important Are Facebook Likes?

Huge numbers of Facebook likes is no guarantee of getting more visitors to your website. I have seen sites with hundreds of thousands of Facebook (FB) likes and rather average visitor numbers. Conversely I have seen websites with absolutely no connection with FB with good unique visitor numbers. It is much more about how good your site is rather than FB likes. I don't like them because we are far too beholden to the big websites. Let's be more independent and stop leaning on FB.

There was, and still is, an almost manic need to link up with FB because everyone else is and because FB indoctrinated people into believing that you had to put an FB like button on your site.

There is something odd about FB likes as well. On my main site I had 1,500 likes (yes I have a like button on the home page but no where else) yet onvernight, recently, it lost about 150 likes. Weird. Do people unlike your site? And do they do it en masse overnight?

You can't rely on FB to get traffic to your site. Also the more you integrate with FB the more you lose visitors to FB which is exactly what FB wants.

If you have a forum for your site on FB, beware. Anyone can visit it and make critical comments.  You don't have the same control over submissions as you do on your own forum. Also, you are moving customers from your site to FB.

The FB like button has almost become a habit for web designers. You place a series of social media buttons on each page in the hope it spreads the word. I don't think it makes any difference. If it does, it is slight. And of course, it slows up page load times. Page load speed is important these days as Google likes fast loading pages. It is part of the algorithm.

I don't believe anyone has done any proper research into the benefits of the FB like button. If someone did they'd probably conclude what I have written here.

There is another point. People who click on the FB like button are "used" by FB to promote advertised products that are associated with the webpage that they have said they like. FB does this without notifying the person. These people are presented by FB as sponsoring certain products. I find this unsatisfactory at the very least. FB are desperate to make more money.  They want to prove that FB is very commercial and can make good profits to boost the share value that dived after the recent float. FB was overvalued at the time of the float. In fact, it was valued at twice its true value, which is why the share value dived so dramatically. FB are keen to rectify that. They are trying all manner of things to make money and some of the strategies are near the bone.

The FB like button is overvalued. It is a habit that at one time we did not have. We were fine without it. Perhaps we were better off without out. Remember the FB like button is for the benefit of Facebook and its profit margins. It is not a public service.

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