Likes Vs Reaches – Which is more important for businesses?

As a Social Media consultant for businesses, I get asked many times which is more important, “Likes” or “Reaches”? I also notice how the lack of “likes” or “favorites” demotivates business owners from using social platforms as should, for the concern of not getting likes.  In assuming a lack of familiarity  with both terms, Likes or Favorites are when someone likes or favorites your post. Likes are on Facebook and favorites on Instagram and twitter for example.  Reaches are the amount of people that see your posts. While personally we all prefer to be liked, reaches are crucial for businesses to increase awareness because it increases the probability for conversions. There are probably many commercials we see on TV that we don’t necessarily care for, many of them wouldn’t even get a thumbs up if our TV sets had like buttons, but they still get their point across. Not being on TV at all is the issue.


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 care for his offerings because he was still obviously in business. There was no set strategy in place for a marketing business tool which 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 reaches 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 for a business is to be focused on increasing awareness and visibility for its products and services. 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 reaches? That is a good one! Please feel free to share your ideas for getting more reaches.