Is Your Facebook Whale Healthy? Know When It’s Time To Kill Your Business Page And Start Over

The key to knowing if your Facebook page is in trouble is in your Facebook page Insights. You probably already know if you are struggling with post Engagement and Reach. I’d like to shift your attention to two areas of Insights you may not pay much attention to. These two sections are When Your Fans Are Online under Posts and Your Fans, under the People section of insights. Do you have the right audience?  If you’ve ever run ads without a very targeted audience or paid for page likes, you could have a big problem. You may have a huge number of likes, but your fans (if they are real people at all) don’t care about your business or your content. This is killing you on Facebook. 

First let me show you where to find this information:

Your Fans:
Your Fans
When Your Fans Are Online:
When Your Fans Are Online

Your fans should fall in a location you desire and speak your language. If there are more people than not that don’t fit that criteria, that’s a red flag. I saw a client once who had over 70,000 page likes and thought this was incredible. I already had a captive audience to work with! Then I looked at his fans’ demographics, and only 1.3% of those fans were from the United States. More on this story later.

After you view your fans’ geographical and language demographics, next check the When You Fans Are Online section. Most people I know only use this graph to  see when the most fans are online and they schedule posts accordingly. But it has another important purpose. If you had any hesitation about the fans’ demographics, the graph on this Insights page will confirm if you have a problem. Your graph should look something akin to this one. I call it “The Whale”

The Whale

It’s OK to have a bumpy Whale, but it should still resemble this shape. The point is that you should see your fans online around the same time you are, as long as you don’t work the night shift or you are purposefully targeting a foreign audience. If the “Tail” of your whale falls in the middle of the day or early evening, that means the majority of your audience lives in another time zone somewhere on the other side of the world. If there is no defined dip like the Tail, your graph is pretty even all the way across, or it just looks like chaos, then you probably have some of the audience you wanted to have, and some that are undesirable.

So what’s the big deal, you might be asking. Isn’t it a good thing to have a lot of page likes, even if they are from all over? Well, it used to be no big deal, but since early 2014, it is a big deal. It all has to do with how Facebook determines what content goes on your fans’ Newsfeed, and in 2014, they decided to add a page’s reach and engagement metrics to the algorithm.  Let’s go back to my client with the 70,000 fans. When I addressed the issue, this is the response I got:

Yes I know. I paid for a likes campaign a few years ago, and was aware that we were getting likes (very cheap) but not from the US. At the time we thought that having lots of likes would lower my ad cost, but it didn’t. It was a gimmick but does have the ‘wow’ factor when people see my page.

Don’t let the WOW factor fool you. A huge number of likes may give the impression or popularity and authority, but without quality the quantity doesn’t matter. In fact, the higher the quantity of low-quality fans, the worse. Consider these points:

  • Fake fans don’t engage or buy from you. They bring your engagement analytics down.
  • …Which results in Facebook decreasing your Reach for having apparently poor content. It’s a double whammy.
  • Fake fans drop off after a while, as they had been with my example client’s page. With low reach and the struggle to get new fans, the number leaving may be higher than the number joining, and Facebook views that negatively in their algorithm. Triple Whammy. 
  • Intelligent users who are genuinely interested in you (these are the people you WANT on your page) will notice discrepancies between the number of likes you have on Facebook vs Twitter and other places. Your real fans will notice that you have very few likes, shares, and comments on your page and wonder what the deal is with such a huge fan base not commenting. It makes them lose trust. You lose credibility. 
  • Fake fans hurt your Insights analysis – not only are the numbers for reach and engagement low – what activity that is there is impossible to attribute to your true target audience. This makes it almost impossible to learn any valuable/actionable information from the data. On a related note, Fan demographics of an improper audience lead to misguided decisions about what your audience wants to see and when.
  • Ads become more expensive when you have fake likes. How do I know? Facebook says so. ( takes into account Page engagement rates when deciding when and where to deliver a Page’s legitimate ads and content, so Pages with artificially inflated like counts are harming themselves, making it harder and more expensive to reach the people they care about most.
  • Lastly, The people who say they can get you X number of likes for X number of dollars are often the same individuals behind spamming and hacking schemes. If you’ve paid for likes and you were fortunate to avoid those individuals, remember that the people who offer to get paid to like random pages could easily be involved the those same practices. 
If you’ve made it this far and you think you have a problem, you may be able to avoid starting over. It really depends on how many fake likes you need to get rid of. If it’s a manageable number, you can remove them manually and save your page and its history. This post from Social Media Examiner will take you through the steps: 

Alas, if all is lost and you need to start a new page and start from scratch, do not see this as defeat or failure. This is your Facebook reincarnation and a chance to do it right! My client went from a page getting an average of 1.78% weekly Reach (and 0.02% engagement from US fans, doing the math) to an average of 900% total weekly reach in the first few weeks. A full analysis shows that the new page has averaged 130% Daily ORGANIC Reach over the life of the page. The lowest daily organic Reach was 6% on a day no content was posted. The highest was 796%. Total numbers which reflect some paid marketing are much higher. 

If you aren’t sure if your page needs to be rebooted, or you know it does and don’t know where to start, feel free to send a message my way. I’ll help you make sense of the data and guide you to the best plan of action for your page. Happy Facebooking!