Facebook Likes vs Follows: What's the Difference?

So ya know that moment when your coworker asks, “Have you Liked our business Facebook Page yet?” and since you have, you respond with a confident “Yep!” But now that Facebook provides both Like AND Follow options, how do you know what “Yep” even means anymore?

Just so we’re on the same page…

The Facebook Profile is just the default form of a personal Facebook account. Every fifth person in the world has one.

The Facebook Page is essentially a Facebook “Profile” for a business. Although it’s a completely separate business account, it does have to be tied to a personal Profile.

Let it be said, there are some “elite” individuals who are a big enough deal to have a Facebook Page rather than a standard Profile. These are mostly actors, musicians, pop-culture figures, etc.  But unless you fall into that category, you have to have a Profile before you can create a Facebook Page.

Okay, so let’s get down to it.

There are 4 basic levels to the way a Profile, or person, can interact with a business Page:

1. Neither Liked nor Following

So no real interaction happening with this one. If a user hasn’t Liked your Page or isn’t Following it, they’re not going to see any of your posts or content. You can still advertise to them based on their interests and demographics, but that’s about it.

2. Liked, but not Following

Alright, so the people that Like your Page are by default set up to Follow you as well (see next section). If, for whatever reason, they unfollowed you manually, they’ll show up on your list of people who Like your Page but won’t see your Page posts on their news feeds.

3. Liked & Following by Default

When users Like a Page, they are also Following it by default and will see your posts on their personal news feeds based on factors related to their engagement with your Page, how old the posts are, etc.

4. Liked & “View First” Following

These users are the most valuable for business advertising purposes because these users have elected to prioritize your Page posts on their news feeds above all others. Milk it for all it’s worth.

How much value do I place on a Like versus a Follow?


There’s really just one basic level of value for users who Like your business Page: they’ve taken a first step to engaging with you and have become part of your Page audience. The trouble here is a Page Like without a Follow just isn’t all that valuable, outside of bragging rights.


There are 3 levels of Follows:

Level 1 – Lowest Value

You may recall that a user who Likes your Page is set to Follow it by default. But there are some users who are aware of their ability to unfollow a Page and have manually done so, which makes them pretty much useless to you; they don’t see your posts and have elected not to for whatever reason, so it’s probably not worth the effort to try reaching these people.

Level 2 – Some Value

On the flip side of Level 1, there are users who either want to continue following you or don’t realize they have the capability of unfollowing you. Regardless, these users are more valuable than those who unfollowed you because they’ll see your Page posts. Take advantage and try using some engaging content that may encourage them to upgrade their relationship with you to a Level 3.

Level 3 – Most Valuable

The most valuable Follow is the Liked and “View First” Follow. Users who elect this Following option are clearly more engaged than the rest of those who have Followed or just Liked your Page. They made a decision to seek out your Facebook Page, Like it, and then they basically overrode the whole Facebook algorithm by telling Facebook to put your Page posts at the top of their feeds. Pamper these guys.

What do I do with all this information?

It’s plain and simple: take advantage of it by getting the most out of your Facebook Page and going after the most valuable users you can. With the right template and the right content, you can do wonders to reach the audiences you’re after.

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