01/05/2014 10:03 BST | Updated 30/06/2014 06:59 BST

Facebook Likes Don't Equal Sales

The fact is that it's SO easy to get fixated on the numbers. I know what it's like to be chasing the next big milestone - the next round hundred or thousand. I'd look at other pages for women business owners and get downhearted that they had way more likes than me.

Last week on my website, one of my posts got a LOT of attention. Here it is

It sparked a lot of discussion and clearly hit a nerve.

The fact is that it's SO easy to get fixated on the numbers. I know what it's like to be chasing the next big milestone - the next round hundred or thousand. I'd look at other pages for women business owners and get downhearted that they had way more likes than me.

For a while I realised that sharing Memes (those pictures with quotes over the top) was a really good way to get new likes and lots of shares. Then one day a woman commented on my page and said 'not enough motivational posts'. I stared at her comment and thought 'WHAT? What are you talking about???' What did she mean, not enough motivational posts? I help women business owners, for heaven's sake, I am a business page!

Then it dawned on me.

She'd come from one of those other sites where all they do is share motivational posts and memes. She thought I was one of them BECAUSE all I'd done was chase the likes and the shares by sharing memes. That was the type of person my FB page was attracting.

Not at all my ideal customer!

So I changed my attitude and changed my approach to my FB page. I got over the other pages. They're not me and I don't want to be them. I love business and my Girls Who Mean Business. I've stopped chasing the likes. But it was only when I went to Dublin a couple of weeks ago and spent time with the Facebook marketing team that I really woke up to how to use my Facebook page. Let me share what they told me.

The User Experience Is Paramount

Nothing is more important to Facebook than the individual user experience and individual users don't want to be spammed. They don't want a timeline full of ads. They don't want bad quality content. They don't want 'like baiting' which is those pictures of kittens (cute/vulnerable people or animals) that say 'like if you think this is cute, or like if you think she is brave'. This is BAD content - it's designed to get thousands of likes and then they can sell the page to someone else who can then sell via it.

It's Crowded In There

The other thing they told me was that FB users are up past 1.2 BILLION and growing by millions every month with the rise of their mobile app. Organic reach HAS to decline. There is simply not enough space in our timelines for everything that everyone is trying to show us.

When I said this to my Big Girl Knickers ladies, some said 'but we aren't seeing what we WANT to see anymore'. Well there are two factors at play here. The first is - if you love a page so much that you always want to see their updates, pop to the top of their page, hover over the 'like' button and tick 'get notifications'. You will always see their stuff. Secondly, if you are not seeing their stuff, it's because their content is not engaging enough, so it's not getting past the millions of other pages competing for our attention. They need to come up with more compelling, better quality content.

So, as business owners, what can we learn from this?

Well, the first thing as I said in my Facebook post is that likes don't equal sales.

Don't get fixated on getting more likes.

Focus on your ideal customer. Who is he/she? What do they want to see? Then write and share great quality content that they will love. Your organic reach will improve if you post less often with better quality posts. This is already working on my Facebook page after just a few days. It doesn't mean that I'm not sharing memes, it means that I have a variety of content on my page that will appeal to and engage my ideal customers.

Focus instead on getting people talking...

On getting feedback. On finding out who's on your page and how you can help them. Focus on giving them great value (even though your posts are free). Make them WANT to see your content and keep coming back. Focus on getting them onto your email list/database. Offer them an irresistible freebie like my 55 Ten Minute Marketing Tips e-book that your ideal customer would love to get their hands on - create a sign up page on your website and let them know that it's available. If you can get them onto your database, you can continue the conversations that you started on Facebook via your regular e-newsletters (yes I know you've been meaning to get around to that).

Focus on sharing information that will help them.

Share stuff that you COULD charge for but choose not to. Focus on building trust. Focus on building credibility. Focus on building relationships.

And as people get to know you and trust you and realise you know what you're talking about, they will become customers.

So I'm going to challenge you to put this into practice this week.

Put your ideal customer at the forefront of your mind with everything you post. Become known by them for the amazing quality content on your page. Start to think strategically when you are posting and watch your organic reach increase. Get people talking for the right reasons and your business will grow as a result. It works, try it!

Love Claire x