Like ladders are a firm favourite with business owners who want to rapidly increase the number of likes on their Facebook page.
A like ladder is a post on Facebook, typically on pages or in groups, where followers and members are invited to tag or link to their Facebook page within a thread, and then work through the thread liking each other’s pages.
Before I continue, let me quickly explain the difference between tagging and linking: you tag your page by typing @ then the page name. You link to your page by posting the page URL, e.g. facebook.com/VeronicaMPullen.
Anyway, the end result of participating in a like ladder is that you’ll gain a flood of new likes from your fellow like ladder participants, and you’ll reward those likes by liking their pages too.
So, there are two elements to participating in like ladders; the pages you like, and the people who are liking your page.
Each element has its own pros and cons, so let’s examine them in more detail.
I’ll start with the pages you like during a like ladder:
In order for your like to register and be counted, you have to like the page from your personal Facebook account.
Whilst you can like pages while using Facebook as your page, the “like counter” doesn’t increase for page to page likes.
Hence, the “rules” of participating in like ladders is that you do the liking as yourself, not your page.
The only benefit to you that I can think of (aside from the reciprocal like) is that theoretically you will visit their page to perform the like, and while you’re there you’ll browse around and learn more about their business.
I say, “theoretically”, because, for pages that have been tagged in the thread, you don’t need to visit the page to like it, you can just click on the tick next to the page from within the thread itself.
Facebook advertisers can show you adverts based on what you have indicated an interest in. So, because you’ve gone through and liked a bunch of random pages of a bunch of random businesses, you’ve indicated an ‘interest’ in a bunch of random interests.
This means that you’re now going to be shown a bunch of random ads that have little relevance to what you really are interested in.
Albeit you can find out what interests you’re being targeted for, and edit your settings by visiting this page, it’s an issue that wouldn’t necessarily exist, but for your liking of random pages.
The final negative is that with the Facebook algorithm deciding what you see in your newsfeed, these random pages you’ve just liked will potentially hinder you seeing posts from friends and pages that you do want to see.
Some people counter this by immediately unfollowing a page that they’ve just liked as part of a like ladder. That works for you, because unfollowing a page or person will stop you seeing their posts in your newsfeed.
But what many don’t realise is that the “unfollows” get counted, and play a part in determining the reach of that page’s posts.
So now you’ve just unintentionally penalised the page reach for that page owner.
People liking your page during a like ladder:
A ton of new likes in a short space of time. Woohoo! Party time!
However, there is only ONE TIME when these new likes don’t prove to be a poisoned chalice for you.
That is when your page is brand new, and you need to hit a minimum number of likes to choose your username, get access to page insights or to boost a post from your page.
Once you’ve achieved 100 likes, this benefit no longer applies.
(Btw, you can boost posts from Ads Manager (my recommended strategy) before you’ve reached 100 likes.
Another potential benefit is that people who visit your page to like it, will see what you do, opt-in to receive your lead magnet, call you to make an enquiry, or become a customer – bearing in mind what I’ve already said about tagging and linking.
While this is entirely possible, because only a very small percentage of your fellow like ladder participants will be your enquiring or buying audience, I’d wager that it only happens 0.01% of the time.
And the negatives?
Now, you’re the page owner in the earlier situation. If people like your page then immediately unfollow, you’re the one being penalised for reach when you post from your page.
Facebook’s algorithm determines that only approximately 5%-10% of the people who like your page will see your page posts in their newsfeed organically (when you don’t pay to promote the post.)
As such, that 5%-10% of people who are seeing your posts is being diluted by the like ladder page likers who have no interest in what you do.
The genuine fans who liked your page because they ARE interested in what you have to say/offer, are potentially not seeing your posts because the algorithm is favouring the non-fans.
The news gets worse, though.
When the day comes that you do decide to pay to promote/boost a post so that more than the organic 5%-10% of page fans will see your post in their newsfeed, you are now PAYING to show the post to more of your non-fans too!
Even paying to promote a post won’t put the post in the newsfeed of 100% of your page fans.
The risk that the algorithm is favouring showing your (paid for) post to more of your non-fans than your genuine fans, still exists too.
Participating in that like ladder doesn’t seem quite such an appealing idea now, does it?
So, who really benefits from these like ladders?
The page or group admins that are hosting them. That’s it.
If the like ladder is being hosted from a Facebook page, the page administrator is benefitting from the glorious, extended, organic reach of the like ladder post as a result of your comments.
When you (as a participant of the like ladder) comment on their post, you are pushing their post into your friends’ newsfeed.
Page administrators are also benefitting from the “algorithm juice” that their page is getting from attracting a ton of comments and likes. ‘Likeability’ is part of how Facebook determines the relevance of page posts, and comments and likes indicate likeability.
This algorithm juice will help them get a better reach for their later (non like ladder) posts because it will view that they must be sharing interesting and relevant content – for a while, at least.
But it’s ok, because when their reach starts to decrease, they can just post another like ladder to bump it up again!
When the like ladders are hosted inside an ‘open’ Facebook group, the group owner benefits in the same way as a page administrator, as the group posts are public.
For closed and secret groups the group owner benefits from all the extra goodwill that offering an “amazing opportunity to get more likes” to their members will bring them.
They’ll be enjoying that nice, warm glow they feel as a result of ‘helping’ you.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that anyone who promotes like ladders has deliberately set out to hurt you.
I choose to believe that for most people, the intention behind promoting like ladders is good. They are following a strategy they’ve seen used ‘successfully’ elsewhere, without any knowledge of how Facebook actually works.
This lack of insight means they don’t realise the longer term implications to you when you participate in these like ladders.
I’m sorry to say that there is NO shortcut to real, sustainable success with Facebook – organic or paid.
You do have to put effort in to get in front of your ideal clients, and build and nurture relationships.
Then, when your connections feel confident enough to call you or buy from you, they will.
And no amount of like ladders or posting your links in tons of Facebook groups is going to shortcut that process.
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