Having consulted with clients on useful social media KPIs, I am all too familiar with the tendency to look on the number of Facebook Likes as the most tangible measure of success. For one thing, it is quick metric to share up and down the food chain. No one knows exactly what a Like is good for but assume if there are large numbers of Likes, it has to mean something good and positive. They must be doing something right to be Liked that much.
Based on such blind faith in the power of being well Liked, clients expend a disproportionate amount of energy trying to bump up those numbers at the cost of ignoring what might really matter. As this BBC article points out, the Likes can be generated by bots with malicious intent. The analyst now has the the task of flagging the fake Likes from the "real" ones.
After all that is done, the question that still remains to be answered is - are the Likes representative of engagement with and advocacy for the brand ? If that cannot be measured or ascertained, maybe it is time to move on from the Likes to what can actually help answer that question.