Over time I have had many conversations with entrepreneurs enamored with the number of Likes that they are able to acquire online. Whether a lot of Likes or a few Likes is a good thing is almost completely dependent on the strategy in place to convert Likes to revenues in some way in the future.Likes.

Here is a metaphor for Likes. Plan to throw a party and publish it in your community online and to your friends. A few people from your community will come to your party for the free food or drinks. Lots of your friends come. They all hang out. They like or don’t like the vibe or the other guests. Eventually everyone leaves. How many of those guests become your new friends? Friends in that they are someone you want to know, are glad they are there and have a mutual respect and engagement together? How many of those guests simply said thank you and told you how much they enjoyed the party?

Likes online are the same as those guests who may have thanked you. They may be people who just came and went who had a good time. They say in effect, I like how you did this and I might want to be a peripheral part of it. Then what happens for them? If you do nothing except hold another party in a few days, weeks or months, which is what most entrepreneurs do online, you will continue to put more and more money into holding parties with no return on that investment except becoming good at producing parties.

What do Likes need to have to determine if they are Likes that matter? A next step. A call to action. A progression to an ongoing deeper relationship, almost certainly on a path to revenue production for your company. The entrepreneurs who know how to turn Likes into loyal followers who make financial or time commitments to the company, they get it. To the rest, a Like is largely just a button that someone spontaneously pushed to show support for the effort. Sort of like applause at the end of a performance. Gratitude, not participation.

At the performance we paid in advance. The applause equates to “thank you for providing a high quality value”. For a Like we pay later, maybe. Develop a roadmap for how Likes can become more engaged than post performance applause. Likes must lead to revenues or the energy to create the Likes is simply an education or entertainment effort. That’s the challenge.