By Susan Saldibar

So, by now you may be aware that Facebook is testing out removing that little counter that shows how many “likes” a post gets. This has been in the works for a while now, but it’s gathered some steam over the last couple of months. The idea is to eliminate the “popularity contest” of posts, which can make posters feel bad when theirs don’t do well among their peers. I have to admit, back when my daughter was a teenager, I probably would have loved this move. But I can also see why it might be unnerving for marketers who use “likes” as an indicator of audience engagement with their brand.

Recently I spoke with Debra Gawet, Social and Digital Content Strategist Supervisor for Sage Age Strategies (a Senior Living Foresight partner) about the likes removal. She was quick to note that, while the likes may not be visible to visitors, they will still show up in the analytics and therefore be available to marketers.

Could the removal of likes be a blessing in disguise? I actually think it may be. While getting lots of likes may look good, it’s not an accurate measuring stick for the effectiveness of a Facebook social media campaign. Clicking the like button reflects little more than a passing flicker of interest. It takes almost zero energy. How often do we all click a like button only to forget the post altogether?

Debra suggests that marketers use this transition to re-evaluate their Facebook strategies. What to focus on? Here are a few of her suggestions:

    • Value. Make sure you take the time to really dig in and understand your prospects’ personas. That includes identifying their challenges, needs, and the kinds of questions that may be in their minds when they scroll through your Facebook page. Make sure that, instead of randomly pushing out content just to get a few likes, you are publishing useful, engaging content.
    • Revisit the metrics you are using to gauge interest with readers. Dig deeper into your engagement metrics, such as comments and shares. These actions take more time and are often indicative of greater interest in your community and what you have to say and share.
    • Consider advertising. If you’re not already doing so, consider paid advertising to leverage and support the objectives of your campaign. This doesn’t have to be expensive. There are economical ways to get started.

Above all, Debra suggests that senior living marketers shouldn’t let the removal of likes cramp their style. “Don’t let Facebook’s decision to potentially remove the ‘like’ count from posts influence your social and digital content marketing strategy,” Debra says. “Social media marketing channels continually make changes and evolve. This is a reminder to senior living operators to keep abreast of these changes and make the necessary adjustments as needed.”

For more information about Sage Age Strategies, you can visit their website.