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As a Social Media consultant for businesses, social media engagement is a major topic. I’m often asked which holds greater importance: “Likes” or “Reaches”? Interestingly, I’ve observed that the lack of “likes” or “favorites” can discourage business owners from fully leveraging social platforms as they should. Let’s clarify these terms for those who may be unfamiliar. “Likes” or “favorites” refer to someone expressing their appreciation for your post, with Facebook using “likes” and Instagram and Twitter employing “favorites”. On the other hand, “Reaches” signifies the number of individuals who have come across your posts. While it’s only natural for us to desire validation through likes, the reach of your posts holds paramount significance for businesses aiming to increase awareness, as it elevates the likelihood of conversions. Think about many TV commercials we come across that don’t necessarily resonate with us; numerous of these wouldn’t even secure a thumbs up if our television sets had like buttons. However, they still manage to convey their intended message. The real challenge lies in not being on TV at all.

Recently, I met with a business owner in the Chicago area to discuss our content marketing services, I mentioned how social media can be huge in driving traffic to websites with good content and he said, “I posted some things on our business Facebook page and got a few likes on some and none on others, so I figured I wasn’t doing it right or that people didn’t actually care for my offerings”.  He was right; He wasn’t doing it right, people cared for his offerings because he was still obviously in business. There was no set strategy in place for a marketing business tool that would have made it more effective, but let’s save that for another article. The fact is the lack of visible appreciation prevented a business owner from taking advantage of social media as a business tool and honestly, I come across this mentality ever so often hidden under many excuses, like the lack of time or appreciation for social media and more.

I encourage business owners to focus on both, with an emphasis on reach when it comes to promoting their brand. After all, with the laws of probability the more you reach the higher the likelihood for engagement. Visibility should be core to a business’s marketing strategy and social media platforms are awesome for that.  Many people see posts, even if they don’t engage with them.  Seeing is believing, not liking. I recently went golfing with some friends of mine and a colleague of mine who didn’t like my Facebook post asked me the next day in person how my golf outing was. People don’t have to like your post to get your message, they have to see it and you will be amazed at the restrictions and reasons some folks have to not engage on social media.

In conclusion, the goal of a business is to be focused on increasing awareness and visibility for its products and services and that applies to social media engagement. A new Facebook business page might not show preferred instant engagement but that should not be a reason to stop its use or be demotivated to not take advantage of the competitive exposure it offers. Competitive exposure is becoming huge in decision-making. If I visit three businesses’ social platforms and notice business A is buzzing, business B is partially active and C is not active at all. Business A has a leg up on all, because the more the information I have, the more I can trust and believe.  Not having a social presence for your business is starting to look like not having a website years ago, which could be a competitive disadvantage. The next question becomes, how do I get more reach? That is a good one! Please feel free to share your ideas for getting more reach.

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