What's Better a Facebook Like or Follow?
As a follow up to my last blog post: What is the Difference Between Liking and Following on Facebook? (Part 2), I thought I'd write about: What's Better a Facebook Like or Follow?
It depends. Did you know that not all Facebook likes are equal? Allow me to explain. There are three types of likes:
1) Like and Default Following This is the most common type of like that Facebook Pages have because when someone likes a Page they are by default also following it. In this case Facebook has an algorithm called EdgeRank which determines how often someone sees the Pages' posts. However, someone who has liked your page can select other options, besides "default following," which brings me to the second and third types of likes.
2) Like and See First Following This is the most valuable type of like for a Facebook Page to have because this means that someone has visited the Page, clicked on the Following button and opted to change their follow status to See First. Doing this overrides Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm and ensures that someone will see a particular Page's posts.
But, how many people will actually bother to use this option? And if Pages try to "educate" or ask their fans to select First Following, will it work? It could backfire and cause fans to be annoyed by the request and worse yet, to unfollow a Page, which leads to the third type of like.
3) Like and not Following This is the least valuable type of like. In this case, someone has liked a Page but decided to unfollow it. These people will not see the Page's posts. There are many reasons that someone would opt to do this. Perhaps they are trying to clean up and decide what they'd specifically like to see in their newsfeed. Or perhaps they like the business or organization represented by a Page, but aren't interested in seeing all of the Page's updates.
Here's a fourth option, which is not a type of like but an unlike:
4) Not Liked and Following In this case, someone has decided to unlike a Page but to still follow it. Perhaps there is some reason they don't want to show that they are liking the Page, but by following it they will still see the Page's posts. So by that token someone who is following but not liking a Page is more interested in seeing what a Page posts- more than someone who liked a Page but unfollowed it. But in Facebook land the focus is on the number of likes that Pages have.
So to answer the question: What's Better a Facebook Like or Follow? It depends on what type of likes you have and Facebook. Also as you can see it's hard to separate the Facebook likes and follows. A like paired with a follow is the best type of like for a Page to have. Someone who has liked a Page but unfollowed it is not much more valuable than someone who hasn't liked a Page. You need to have both a like and a follow for a like to have any value besides superficially showing the popularity of a Page.
And what about those who have unliked a Page but still followed it?
It depends on whether you think it's a good thing that people have opted to follow a Page's posting content, but not like it. These people are clearly interested in a Page's posts, but as mentioned in my previous post there are several reasons someone might choose to "follow" a Page and not "like" it: social listening, monitoring competitors, market research, and political and industry monitoring.