Friday Freak Out – The Relentless Push for Facebook Post Likes

‘How long did it take you to clear your bowels today? Please tell us and Like this post!’

That is an actual post I saw from a brand on Facebook today. I jest, however it may as well be as there is a real stench around the activity on many Facebook business Pages right now.

Chasing the Edgerank

In case you don’t know, Edgerank is the algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what updates or content appears in a user’s News Feed and how prominently (or high up) it is displayed. I’m not going to go in to the nitty gritty of how it all works, but the basic premise is, that if a update receives a high number of likes, comments or shares, it stands a better chance of featuring on a News Feed.

Quality is Suffering

Simple updates, such as questions or a photo upload tend to receive high levels of interaction from ‘likers’ of a Facebook Page. Going down that route is not necessarily a bad thing, and I would even say that a blend of simple versus more complex posts is a wise path to follow, but the emerging trend of Facebook Page owners asking their audience to ‘like’ every post in order to try and influence their Edgerank score is just plain crass and really shows a lack of respect for the people that have decided to give you the time of day.

How about actually re-focusing on quality? Yes, Facebook have given less emphasis to brands in the News Feed, but taking the easy route of pestering people for likes is a crappy way of trying to combat this. Take a step back and use your creativity to deliver content that will make people naturally want to like (or comment or share) your updates. You are getting the best of both worlds here – happy fans revelling in the wonderful ass-kicking content you’re supplying them, and the real possibility of a tasty looking Edgerank score.

Likes are Shallow Anyway

It takes a split second to ‘like’ an update on Facebook. Yeah, it’s an indicator that a person has a positive reaction to your content (although on a personal level, I think I could post ‘I just skinned three kittens alive’ and it would receive some passive likes) the real quality interaction takes place when a user is inclined to comment. I don’t mean a response to questions like ‘____day is the best day to eat burgers’ but responses to content that really gets people thinking and gives you a little bit of valuable content back. That’s what Page owners should be aiming for. In my humble opinion. Stop the pestering for likes and actually use your brains people.

A Note to the RSPCA

I have never skinned a kitten. I love animals, especially cute kittens and can’t imagine how anyone could ever hurt any animal. The RSPCA do amazing work across the UK to protect animals.

Am I being over-sensitive about brands, businesses etc trying too hard for ‘likes’ on posts? Do tell.

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About Mike McGrail

Mike McGrail is the owner of The Social Penguin Blog. He is the MD of Velocity Digital. He likes scotch and leather-bound books. Follow Mike's ramblings on Twitter. He also resides on Google Plus here.

  • Valerie

    Despite the multiple references to skinning kittens – an entertaining and useful post.

    Another anti-Fangating post that has similar ideas (but a lack of kitten references) can be found on YUPIQ’s blog.

    Oh – and the little kitten is actually cute (nice save).

    • Mike McGrail

      Hi Valerie,

      The cat thing is just a way of emphasising that getting a like in a post perhaps isn’t as involved as many think, not meant to offend in any way and of course I would never condone animal cruelly, hence the link to the RSPCA. Glad you like the post and I’ll read the one you link to.

  • Robzie81

    I couldn’t agree more, Mike. I’m the same way with the ‘Please RT’ on Twitter. No. I’ll RT if I think the link/post/picture is good, not just for the sake of your marketing campaign. For me, asking for that engagement actually devalues the post, the brand, and the sentiment behind the interaction.

    • Mike McGrail

      Oh no, maybe I’m guilty of this by asking for comments on my posts?!?

      • Robzie81

        Hahah, no no no. I think it is completely appropriate to ask for interaction on your blog posts. But to peddle for simple ‘Likes’ and RTs on social networks, where people may not already be engaging with your brand, goes overboard. I feel there are different permissions. It’s ok to ask someone to Like your website if they’re already on it. It’s ok to ask for comments on a blog post that I’m already reading. I don’t think it’s ok to ask me to RT or Like your post, simply because it shows in my feed. In don’t want a Twitter and Facebook feed full of begging! haha ;)

  • Craig McGill

    You’ve nailed it. One of the brands I work for has an out and out ban on FB posts like “So what are you doing this weekend” and “Nice weekend? What did you do?” as they accept that it does nothing for the brand. Some may use it to get the easy hits but this client would rather, like you say, focus on quality.

    Tell you one thing: I’ve found the move to the new style page to make it horrific for bringing in new people and FB pages seem to be consolidating around people who were already there, but this may just be me :-)

    • Mike McGrail

      Hi Craig,

      I like that ban! They have their place at times but at a very low frequency. Facebook certainly keep us all on our toes eh?


  • Marionadie

    Really appreciate you’re blogs as they keep me in check. I admit I made the ‘mistake’ of asking followers on twitter to RT a link to my Facebook page. It wasn’t until I had done this that I realised it was devaluing my company. However some of us don’t have witty comments or interesting stats to hand to share with our twitter followers or fb fans. I design and sell textiles I’m not the most articulate, witty and definately can’t afford a social media whizz kid to help me get my brand out there. It’s not easy for us mere mortals.

    • Mike McGrail

      Hi Marion

      Thanks for that! It is a learning curve and you will try things that don’t work. There are so many resources out there to help. Imagery is key for you and that has never been more important in social media!