How did you get your Facebook likes?

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

First and foremost, it’s clear. Last week you had 10,000 likes on Facebook, this week 100,000. You’re either a marketing genius, or you paid a few euros to get those likes. Even though you put a ‘Thank you” banner on your Facebook page, people realize that you did not get those likes in a legitimate manner. It is nowadays a known secret that the number of likes, or twitter followers, can easily be bought for a few euros, but this is highly detrimental for your company. Here’s why…

Lately, I have seen some companies celebrating ‘massive’ number of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter. However, the truth is that popular social media channels are in control of what millions of people get in their news feed and thus, the number of likes, or followers that go to each page.

Having said that, there are some companies that have earned their ‘followers’ or ‘likes’ the good, old, hard way – by posting interesting content, engaging their audience, a great marketing campaign and so on.

But let us take Facebook as an example. There are 3 main ways you can acquire new likes:

  1. Naturally: As stated above, companies can acquire new likes through a great marketing campaign that goes viral, posting relevant content and engaging your audience, amongst others.
  2. Facebook Advertising: Paying Facebook to promote your page to users so they are more exposed to see your page, and thus liking it.
  3. The illegitimate, open secret, way: Going to Google, typing ‘buy Facebook likes’ and voila, you are now the most liked page amongst your competitors! This method involves engaging companies in developing countries for a small fee. In return, such companies pay employees to like several pages on Facebook for a miserable amount of money. These companies are called ‘click farms’.

Well done to all those employing the first method. You are doing it right! By using method 2 and mostly method 3, you may be in for a cold shower.

Spot the difference between two Maltese Facebook pages.

Spot the difference between two Maltese Facebook pages.

You may already know this, but especially for method 3, you have cheated your way through, thus although you have an amazing number of likes, they are not real customers and will never convert to conversions, which is ultimately what is most important for your business. Needless to say, this method is forbidden as per Facebook guidelines.

Although method 2 seems to be a legitimate way to acquire likes, recent studies have shown that (especially when advertising your page in foreign countries), paying Facebook to advertise your page will still acquire likes from countries similar to those of method 3.

But what’s wrong with having a big, bogus, follower list using method 2 or 3? A lot. When you create a post, Facebook automatically distributes this to only a small number of people following your page. If Facebook gauges that these people have liked or shared your update, it continues to display your update on more users’ timelines. Thus, by having a big majority of illegitimate likes on your page, the content that you post is mostly being shared to fake profiles which will never like or share your content, and thus suppressing the spread of your updates to ‘real’ followers.

This is why you may notice that even though you have a significant number of followers, your posts still get the same, if not less, engagement, with few people liking or sharing your content, since the likes  were either from fake profiles, or from people who are not genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

These dishonest likes also tamper with your metrics, which hinder your analysis of social media statistics. In turn, you will not be able to measure which content is most suitable for your ‘real’ audience, resulting in ‘real’ users un-liking your page, leaving your page populated by just ‘fake’ user profiles.

Lastly and most importantly, fake likes will damage your credibility. Especially with method 3, Facebook itself cracks down and deletes fake profiles (20,000 a day to be exact), including the likes that you bought. This means that your page can instantly see a reduction in page likes, seeming bizarre amongst your ‘real’ followers. In addition, nobody would trust a business that tried to cheat its way through.

The video below shows some experiments and uncovers some reality about Facebook likes, ‘click farms’ and Facebook Advertising.

So, if you’re a user reading this, always check the type of engagement on the pages that you like. I for one, realize immediately that it’s next to impossible that a page having 200,000 likes generates just 2 or 3 likes on each of its posts. Even a cappuccino photo gets more likes from my 400 or so friends! If you’re a business owner or marketer reading this be careful. Don’t sacrifice short term ‘success’, with long-term irreversible costs.


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