Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Facebook likes - to buy or not to buy?

Buying fake Facebook Likes is as easy as buying bread and milk. A simple Google search will bring up dozens of websites which promise to give you, ‘real’ or ‘active’ Facebook Likes for a fairly nominal amount.  Many people and brands have been known to buy such likes, the biggest question is; WHY?
 
Quite simply the answer appears to be: to seem popular.  Trying to create a decent fan following, for a Facebook page, is no easy task and requires a solid, social media strategy.  There is a perception that in order to be portrayed as an established company you must have a large fan base, and that this in turn will help improve visibility.  However, in reality, the actual social worth of a page is judged by the level of interaction it gets after putting up a status, picture or polls.  Given the fact that the vast majority of these, paid for fans, are fake accounts, you will more than likely get no interaction on your posts.  If you are lucky, you may have purchased ‘real’ likes, however there is no way to choose bought ‘fans’ who will actually be interested in your business, and there will be a very low likelihood that they will have any interest in interacting on your page in the future.  As the saying goes: ‘if it’s too good to be true, it usually is’.
 
Now consider EdgeRank – Facebook’s algorithm that determines which posts go into users’ News Feeds.  If your Facebook page has little or no engagement on your posts, in relation to your number of likes, Facebook presumes you are not posting valuable, informative or worthwhile content, and your EdgeRank will drop.  In a nutshell, this means that nobody will see your posts in their News Feeds – including your real likes, who are actually interested in your product and offerings.  In theory, the higher your number of likes, the more interaction (likes, comments and shares) there should be.   
 
More importantly than your EdgeRank rating, is the fact that buying Facebook likes is illegal.  The majority of people who provide fake likes do so by creating multiple fake accounts, which is strictly against Facebook terms of use. When you buy them from a person doing so, you become a partner-in-crime.  To make users understand the severity and consequences of the situation, Facebook has revealed some of its fraud-fighting tactics.  It’s quite evident to see that selling and buying fake Likes are illegitimate practices that could result in in heavy price to pay.  The day Facebook realises that your likes are fake your Facebook page might run the risk of getting banned altogether.  
Other than the technical and legal issues, let’s look at this in a simpler context; would you trust a person who has to buy friends?  No.  So why would you trust a company that has purchased likes to look good?  With trust and reputation two of the most important elements of branding, one needs to be very cautious when participating in an activity that can be perceived as deceptive.  If a consumer finds out that you have purchased Facebook likes, which is relatively simple to figure out, you will lose credibility and with it a possible, loyal customer.  
 
In conclusion, the need to have a large fan base is pure vanity, and it delivers absolutely no value in return of your investment and carries more risk than reward.  Real fans are the people that will actually turn into paying customers, or those who will share your posts and actively interact.  Increasing your real likes or organic reach can seem overwhelmingly difficult, leading you to believe that the only way to succeed at this, is by hiring a social media expert.  This is not the case and with a little bit of research and consistency, you can run a successful page.  Take a look here for some inspiration: