Following our recent post about the difference between Pages and Groups, there's been a good deal of interest in how to maximise the effort organisations are putting into their Facebook Page. Many users are unaware that there are different ways of tracking a Facebook Page - so what is the difference between Liking and Following a Facebook Page? In fact, does it even matter?
In its simplest form, when you Like a Page you want to support the Page, and the fact you do will be publicly visible in the About section of your profile. When you Follow a Page you want to see the updates from the Page.
From a user point of view, you need to be aware of how Facebook has implemented these features.
when you Like a Page, you automatically also Follow it
when you Unlike a Page which you are also Following, then you will both Unlike and Unfollow it
when you Unlike a Page which you are not Following, then you just Unlike the Page
when you Follow a Page, you do NOT automatically Like it
when you UnFollow a Page, you are only Unfollowing it - no action on Unliking it if you are already Liking it.
So the practical side for a user:-
to Like and Follow a Page, click Like
to Like but not Follow a Page, click Like, then click Unfollow
to Follow but not Like a Page, go to the Page to be able to see the Follow button to click on
When you Follow a page there are two separate menus, each with three options - to get these, go to the Page and hover over the [Following] button. The descriptions are good and you can choose how much/little you see in your Feed and what level of Notifications you can get.
As a Page owner, it's worth considering why people would care about these options.
If you Like but don't Follow - these people are not seeing your updates. Perhaps they don’t want to offend you by unliking – so they simply choose not to see your updates.
If you Follow but don't Like - these people will see your updates, but won’t be counted in your page likes, and their interest in your page is hidden in their profile. Additionally, their friends may be notified - dependent on how you have got your account security set up.
For Page owners, it's important to note that the number of likes is not as important as the content you are putting out and your level of engagement with those users Liking and/or Following your Page. Many organisations we talk to get distracted by the number of Likes on their Page, and they don't realise that is merely a small aspect of raising the popularity of your Page. If your audience is not engaging with your content, the Likes number is a vanity metric. Concentrate on providing interesting content to encourage your audience to engage/interact with you and your other Followers.
And for the utterly curious amongst you, every Facebook user can Like up to 5000 Pages. That's the limit!