Facebook Growth Vs. Engagement | What Will You Choose?

by George Konetes | Nov 18, 2014 | Digital

When asked what they want, Facebook page engagement or growth, most people say both.  And sure, that would be great, but it is not quite that simple.  Adding new Facebook fans impacts the engagement equation. There is a conceptual issue and a math issue that many people do not take into account.  Understanding these general concepts will help you optimize your resources and maximize your impact.

The Difference Between Likes and Really Liking

When you are legitimately growing your audience, you are in effect marketing to your target audience and gaining people’s interest in your page.  When people “Like” your page they have effectively become part of your regularly reachable audience. But that does not mean these users will ever see your content again or engage with it automatically.

For users to organically see your content they need to engage with your content.  Liking your page is not enough.  The more of your content a user interacts with, the more of your content they will see organically in their feed. In short, users see your content because they have historically interacted with it. Over time, a good page develops an audience of users who regularly engage and communicate; community begins to gel.

Two Issues – One Problem

When you begin to add more likes, you are adding people who are clean slates and have never engaged with your content before. This means it is highly unlikely they will ever see your content organically, especially in recent times. So you have two issues here:

1. Conceptually – You are adding people that are not likely to engage and become active unless you invest money or creativity to reach them.

2.Mathematically – Facebook partially determines organic reach by your percentage of engaged users.  So when you add a lot of inactive users then your reach, even to your loyal fans, decreases.

Adding a lot of fans quickly is essentially watering down your engagement percentages with new fans that you need time and resources to engage.

A Barrel Of Solutions

So how do you solve this problem? The keys are timing and strategy.  If you understand everything I have laid out so far then you have the foundation you need to create solutions.  Here are a few golden eggs to help you on the way.

  • If you have a new page then you have nothing to lose with an aggressive audience building campaign.
  • If your page has really bad engagement and you are re-evaluating how to manage it then you have almost nothing to lose with an aggressive audience building campaign.
  • If your page has moderate to good engagement then you want to throttle your audience building.  Spread it out over the course of months or quarters and try to keep monthly paid page growth under 15%.
  • If your page engagement is excellent, then be VERY careful when it comes to audience building.  You have already caught the golden goose.  Try to keep your paid monthly page growth under 5%.  Monitor things closely, especially if you want to add more fans. With great engagement you can probably obtain good organic growth if you are resourceful.
  • If you add new fans, you will need to actively engage them, these days that usually means paid promotion.
  • What typically works well when starting a new page is rapidly building your audience until reaching your desired initial size and slow audience growth way down.  Then begin engaging that audience and developing your community.  Add new Likes slowly and over time.

I know it seems like adding more fans only causes problems, but in reality, you do need more fans to increase your potential reach and impact.  But always consider the other factors in play.

George Konetes

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