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Why You Shouldn’t Buy Facebook Fans or Likes

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Too good to be true -- watch that asterisk!

You’ve probably seen these too-good-to-be-true offers, the ones that tell us “we’ll get you 10,000 fans in one week!” or “delivering 5,000 likes in a matter of days!” For some reason the bigger-is-better attitude hasn’t died in the social media realm.

Just this week I was working with a client who forwarded me an offer for 2,500 Facebook likes for ‘only’ $5,000. What a deal! But wait, is it? If you’re even considering the idea of buying likes, let’s consider two questions first:

1) Are these people?

Sounds like  a funny question, but seriously, ask yourself, are these REAL, ACTUAL people? Or are they accounts set up in a multitude of names with no real person behind them?

The rise of Like Farms is something that Facebook continues to deal with, just in the way that Google has altered their algorithm numerous times to deal with link farms. Large groups of people or accounts set up as people like various pages in exchange for money or reciprocal likes. This can go round and round to build a large number of fans to a page.

Let’s try to assume the best — we’ll say, for the sake of argument, that these are real live people with Facebook accounts. Okay, moving on.

2) Who are these people?

We’ve decided to assume the best and that these are real people. But now, who are they? Do they have any interest in what you have to offer? If everybody in your family was forced to like your Facebook page, do you think that would help increase your sales? Sure, there would be that fleeting status update of ‘Joe liked (YOUR PAGE NAME HERE).’ Then what? Odds are anything you post will be ignored if Joe isn’t actually interested. In fact, he could even hide your notifications.

Now, in this scenario, say Joe made a small stipend for this like. How many pages do you think Joe likes? After that initial like, how many do you think he actually follows or cares about?

Odds are these people are not in your target market, and they may never be potential customers.

You want people who want to hear from you.

They might not want to hear from you constantly, but they actually care about what you have to offer, are interesting in buying from you, enjoy your tips and tricks or your fabulous sense of humor. Whatever it is, they have opted in. Social media is a form of in-bound marketing, where people choose to hear from you. That choice is important!

Bigger isn’t always better. And more likes doesn’t equate to a better page.

You know that client I mentioned earlier? I decided to check out one of these pages that this particular competitor said he had gotten 11,000+ likes for, and the funny thing is, there wasn’t that much interaction. The most popular update had 4 likes, and no comments. There were a few updates that had a couple comments. Now it’s hard to say what other marketing they’re doing, or how many people come from that page, but it was obvious that while there was a large number of people on that page, not many were ‘talking about this’, Facebook’s public measure of the buzz around the updates. Do these fans make for a big number? Yes! And if that’s all you’re after, buying fans might work for you. But I’m willing to guess you’re on Facebook to grow your brand, generate leads and increase sales. If you run a non-profit, it’s very much the same — you’re looking to increase awareness, engage volunteers, and inform and woo donors. More likes doesn’t necessarily mean more interaction, more leads, or more money.

Enough already! We get it. Do likes matter at all, then?

Yes! Definitely. Increasing the number of people who really are interested in what you have to offer matters greatly. Increasing real fans can exponentially increase leads and sales. It goes back to reaching your people, the ones who will share your content, recommend your service or product, and buy from you. Not every Facebook fan is going to do that, and that’s okay. But having 5,000 fans who never check in with you, never visit your page, and don’t actually, truly ‘Like’ you is not worth your time or money.

There are a number of ways to better engage your current fan base, and to naturally grow your number of likes. More on that in future blog posts! Meanwhile, if you get one of these Facebook like offers, it’s best to stick to the old adage, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’

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