Engagement Versus Likes/Followers: Which Holds the Most Value?

by Alyssa Stahr

1 May, 2013

The Arland Group office is a mecca for collaboration, and Emily Pirraglia and I bounce ideas off of each other on a daily basis. Last week’s debate centered around the importance of likes/followers and engagement on social media. Both are extremely important. But, empty likes are nothing without engagement. You can’t have engagement without followers, but you can’t grow your follower base without shares and proper interaction. However, which stood out as most important was the basis for our debate.

Clients want to grow a consumer base—after all, it’s great to be popular and have a lot of likes. A recent Napkin Labs study analyzed more than 50 brands with Facebook pages that had between 200,000 to one million fans. Results showed that the quantity of likes was not equivalent to the level of consumer engagement. Simply, the more Facebook fans the brands had, the lower percentage of engagement. Brands work hard to be engaged, but it’s tough to relate on a one-on-one basis once likes/followers grow to an unmanageable number.

A 2012 Ehrenberg-Bass Institute study showed that only a little more than one percent of fans of the biggest brands on Facebook were active engagers. A key to boosting that number is to hone in on super followers (those who engage regularly) and to pick different groups to engage with; try not to leave anyone out within those groups.

Groups can be pinpointed according to followers’ age ranges, geographic locations, interests and more. By grouping, strategically targeting and catering dialogue geared toward specific users within groups, no one is left out. It will show that you are paying attention to the people who have taken the time to follow you and become your fan.

Our discussion ended by agreeing that you can’t have one without the other, but in the end, engagement is what matters most.