For the past few years the number of likes on your Facebook page or followers you have on Twitter have become more and more important.

Some people see the high number as recognition of an industry leader. In many cases this can be true.

Other benefits are the amount of people you can share your message with or have engage with you on Social Media. It can also have great effects on your SEO.

The higher the number can result in more leads for your business and therefore more sales, more revenue – if this is the case fantastic!!

My problem is the amount of “pointless” likes and followers. With the number becoming more and more important for businesses it opened up the market for spamming and false accounts.

People started selling fans. On you can pay just $5 and get hundreds of likes to your page – awesome you may think, but what is the point? These accounts in most cases aren’t real people they are accounts that have been made by the people selling the likes. You pay them and they use their automated software to have all those false accounts like your page.

I can guarantee you a false person isn’t about to engage with you in a meaningful way or become a customer.

One of my first clients when I opened my social media agency sat down with me over a cup of coffee and said “I want you to get me 20,000 likes on Facebook in the first month”, I said no.

I’m not saying it’s impossible or that it can’t be done organically (unpaid) but given that his business is on the Island state of Tasmania and he dealt in wealth management it was highly unlikely that 20,000 Tasmanians were going to like his page in a month.

My response to him explained what is the point of 20,000 people who are never going to use your services, engage with you, refer you or give you a cent liking your page? Instead we were better off focusing on quality likes.

Quality likes are people in your target market. People who live in the area you service and who have a need for the product or service you offer.

There would be no point in a female only gym getting thousands of likes by men, they are never going to buy a membership!

There was no point in him getting thousands of likes from all over the world when they only deal face to face in Tasmania.

By the time he had just 200 likes he had already had 4 clients as a direct result of his Facebook page. Since then he has regular interaction on his page and regular enquires coming through.

If you are tempted to buy your popularity think about what you are actually purchasing, a page with thousands of likes and no interaction to me just looks silly!

Rather focus on slowly but surely building a loyal community of fans who like you, your company, product or service. Who may purchase from you or refer you to their friends, hopefully both. Engage with real people, provide value, gain their trust and nurture the relationship.

When I go to a Facebook page I don’t look at the number of likes to measure popularity I look at the number of people “talking about this”. This gives you a better indication of how many people are actually interacting with the page and talking about it with their friends. You can also look at how many people are interacting with recent posts. If it is your own page a good indication is how many people your posts are reaching.

To me interaction is a much higher indication of popularity of a product or brand.

A page with 20,000 fans and 2 people talking about it is not a popular page.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue, how do you measure the popularity of a page? Have you ever paid for fans? Please leave your comments below.