With more than 1.32 billion active monthly users, who are posting 12 billion messages daily, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is undoubtedly the most desirable marketing platform for companies, advertisers, marketers and even for self-promoters. While the individuals are fascinated about exposure and attention they enjoy from their distanced friends and online network, brands are busy in winning the confidence of as many online users as possible through Facebook Page. This has led brand promoters and marketers to indulge in a race to earn the greatest number of Fans and their Likes. However, the cut-throat competition and Facebook’s few recent policy changes to ensure the best interest of each user, have convinced many marketers to look for the illegitimate means of earning Facebook users’ attention, which includes buying pseudo Fans and fake Likes.
Buying fake Facebook Likes/Fans is not a big deal though. There are dozens of websites which promise to give you ‘genuine’, ‘active’ or ‘real’ Facebook Likes/Fans for a very nominal amount. Many people and brands have been known to buy such likes in a bid to portray themselves as established companies with a large fan base.
The question is:
- WHY do people BUY Facebook Likes?
- SHOULD you buy Facebook Likes?
- Are fake Likes worth it?
- Will they help promote your business interest in any way?
Ok. So, is buying Facebook likes a BAD idea?
In 2013, while filing its fourth quarter earning report Facebook make a startling claim; the company estimated that nearly 5.5% to 11.2% of its users were fake.
Why People Buy Facebook Fake Likes?
Anyone who has a Facebook page for his brand/ service/ blog, etc. knows how difficult it is to create a fan following.
Though it takes just a few seconds to do so, people are extremely reluctant to press the LIKE button on a page – especially on a new Page – unless they are really convinced or influenced by the content served through the page. According to the recent study, done by ExatTarget ad CoTweet, 40% Facebook users Like a page to receive discounts, while 36% of users expect a freebie in exchange of their Like. This is really interesting; only 34% of Facebook users say they like a brand to stay updated about the company’s activities.
This clearly hint that winning a real fans is not an easy task. THAT precisely is the main reason most new starters buy likes. There are various reasons for people wanting to buy Facebook likes.
- Having a good number of likes can make a world of difference to most brands and internet marketers. Starting with a handful of followers would reflect very poorly on their part.
A person selling weight loss products, for instance, and having testimonials from satisfied clients is not likely to cut much ice with first time visitors to his website if they see only 134 Likes on his page. Having 27,165 Likes, on the other hand, might help create an impression that he is selling a hugely popular product.
- It can indeed be flustering if you put up a status on your fan page and only 3 people like it. And no one bothers to leave behind a comment.
Not only is it annoying and frustrating for you, but also acts as a turn off for those who might have liked your page.
That is because people are more likely to get involved with active pages where the level of social interaction is high.
Call it the ‘herd mentality’ or whatever.
- Users are more likely to LIKE a page which has already been liked by, say, 7400 people or 2779 people than we would on a page that has only been liked by 86 people before us.
Which again brings us to the question we started with. If you do not have enough natural likes, is it a good idea to buy Facebook likes to create an impression?
Why Buying Facebook Likes is a Bad Idea?
Most social media experts would not suggest you to buy fake likes. And here are the main reasons why they would dissuade any serious business man from doing so:
· All You Get is Numbers
The LIKEs you get when you pay someone for them are totally, completely fake and only help add to the numeric count on your page. Some smart sellers might try charging higher for “Active” likes. The truth is that it is very difficult to get a good degree of interaction from the fake numbers on your fan page.
The actual social worth of a fan page is judged by the level of interaction it gets after putting up a status, picture or inviting a poll. Paid likes don’t help you get any of these.
Facebook is launching a campaign to get rid of fake or low-quality Likes. The move is being considered as an attempt by Facebook to flush spammers and make the data, derived from these Likes, more authentic. In a recent blog post, Facebook has officially urged marketers and brand promotors to refrain from buying fake Likes as it delivers absolute no value in return to your investment.
The spammers behind fake likes have one goal — to make money off of Page owners without delivering any value in return. They make their profit by promising and generating likes to Facebook Page administrators who typically don’t understand that fake likes won’t help them achieve their business goals.
· Real Fans Will Doubt Your Integrity
No one likes to deal with a person or a business which misrepresents facts or cheats.
If your real fans get the slightest hint of your resorting to such third class tactics (which they invariably will when they see the number off Likes on your page exploding overnight), to create a false impression, they will begin to have doubts about your truthfulness. Your brand image will get a severe blow if that happens.
· EdgeRank Algorithm
EdgeRank algorithm now helps decide about the “Top stories” which appear in users’ news feed. The four factors which this algorithm takes into account while sorting out the posts which will appear on fans’ pages are:
- How your fans interact with your previous posts? If your fans like, share and comment on your posts regularly, the chances of your posts appearing on their NewsFeed are higher.
- How others react to your posts? If all others on Facebook choose to ignore a post or not react to it, its chances of appearing on fans’ pages get affected adversely.
- How your fans reacted to similar posts in the past? Facebook wants its users to see content which, according to it, might interest them. if your fans like image based posts (whether from your page or other pages they have liked), they will see more image based posts on their NewsFeed and so forth.
- How many people have complained against your post or page? If people have complained against a particular post or against your page, the likelihood of your posts appearing on fan pages gets lowered.
We all know by now that organic reach of a page is slowly abating and an update on Facebook Page reaches to only 6% of the Page’s total fan base. However, If the posts you put up on your page do not get a good level of interaction (by way of LIKEs, Shares and Comments) from a good percentage of people on your fan page, your posts will stop appearing in the news feed of even your most active and ardent followers. In this way, fake likes might actually become a burden.
The people who provide you fake likes do so by creating fake multiple accounts, which is strictly against Facebook policies. When you buy them from a person doing so, you also become a partner-in-crime.
To make users understand the severity and consequences of the situation Facebook has recently revealed some of its fraud-fighting tactics – including that it has won $2 billion in legal judgments against spammers – and also offered advice to businesses to avoid being fooled by such fake-like scams. From such initiatives its quite evident that selling and buying fake Likes are illegitimate practices that could result in in heavy price to pay.
- May Evoke a Ban
Fake accounts at Orkut were more of a norm than an exception. And they did not seem to object to that either. The rules here are becoming strict with every passing day. They are making it difficult, if not impossible, to create fake accounts.
Inspite of that, it was estimated that almost 5.5-11.2% of account holders were operating with fake accounts.
The day Facebook realizes that your likes are fake (and it is not difficult to do so because most providers give likes from the same ip address or from a particular area), your Facebook page might run the risk of getting banned altogether.
Zuckerberg stated in unequivocal terms in September 2012 that all fake and inactive accounts will soon be deleted. True to their word, they did come down heavily against fake accounts and pages and deleted nearly 7 million of them in 2012-13.
If, God forbid, that happens, you lose all credibility and respect.
In some cases where a sizable proportion of business leads are generated by this networking site, the volume of business might get affected adversely.
- Likes Might Disappear
Even if your page does not get banned per se, the fake likes might disappear as suddenly as they had appeared.
You might log in to your Fan page one fine day and notice that all the 32,000 likes you had purchased have vanished without any trace.
That could happen due to a fraud on the part of the contractor who provided you those.
Buying fake likes thinking they will help improve visibility or build up a better brand image is a misconception. It does not matter how much or how little you are spending on buying those fake ‘fans’, because they will not bring any business to you even if they do interact with your posts (the likelihood of which is very very low).
“Buying fake likes isn’t a social strategy, it’s just lazy. It’s cheating and it’s not even a good cheat move.”
So, buy now if you are convinced that fake Likes brings nothing but damages to your brand in many ways and you are among the ones who have been buying fake Likes/Fans, probably this is the time when you need to act smart and get rid of all such liability. Here is an interesting article that explains how exactly you can identify fake Fans and flush them out, forever.