It pays to be popular on Facebook, literally at times. So much so that some businesses are willing to pay for attention. And where there’s demand, there’s bound to be supply. Quite a few businesses have sprung up in the last decade claiming to bolster your social media marketing efforts by providing you Likes on your page … for a cost of course!
How They Work
So you’ve just launched an online presence for your business and are looking to rake up the metrics for some quick conversions. You’re surfing the search engines, probably with variations of keywords like, ‘Building Facebook page for business’, ‘How to get more Likes on my Facebook page’ and ‘My page has only 4 Likes and one of them is from my mother, help!’ Okay, maybe not that last one.
Anyway, you come across a website which offers, say, 1000 Likes at $30.
What do you do?
Let’s work this out. In order to give you a clear picture, I’ll talk about both the pros and the cons of buying Facebook Likes. So let’s start with the good stuff.
Buying Facebook Likes is your personal social media nitrous oxide system (NOS). It gives you that much-needed boost to kick-start your Facebook presence. Let’s face it – who doesn’t like instant gratification? And watching your page rake in 500-1000 fans overnight guarantees just that!
You Become ‘Popular’
Since your brand looks like it is receiving adulation from one and all, people will trust you more and even listen to what you have to say. They have a term for this: Social Credibility. A Facebook user is more likely to trust and do business with a brand which has a few thousand Likes than the one with only 4 Likes. So, being the popular kid on this social media platform does have its perks.
On the other hand, you might face questions like this.
There’s a thing about buying in bulk. It’s usually cheap. The economic principle remains the same when it comes to buying Facebook Likes as well. I’ve surfed through websites offering hundreds of Likes for prices as low as $3-$5. If you consider the value for money that you’re getting, it’s a pretty good deal.
Oh, but do watch out for those ‘OMG-it’s-so-cheap!’ deals. Steer clear of them. Why? Because sometimes things that are too good to be true are exactly that – TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. But, we’ll talk about this a little later.
We’ve already spoken about Social Credibility. It’s been reported that for business pages which have purchased their Likes, there can be as much as 40% naturally-occurring Likes. Again, it’s the same principle at work here. “People think you’re cool, so what the hell, I also think you’re cool.”
Here’s another number. By purchasing Likes and giving your online presence a boost, you can hike your online conversion and sales rates by as much as 20%. This number depends on factors like whether you have social media widgets and counters on your page and how convenient it is for followers to make a transaction on your website.
Now that you’ve seen how buying Likes can help your business. Let’s look at a few reasons why you shouldn’t get all gung-ho about this.
No Real Activity
Alright, first things first. Those Likes you’re getting on your page, they aren’t from real people. The businesses selling Likes create fake user accounts to do the needful. This means that while you will get those Likes, there won’t be any engagement from those ‘users’. So your engagement metrics will probably take a hit. Be prepared for that.
You’re No Longer Mr. Nice Guy
To say that buying Facebook Likes is frowned upon would be a bit of an understatement. Facebook has strongly criticized this practice, along with quite a few other major media and tech brands. So if you are planning to do this, you might not want to mention it at the next dinner party.
Scams, Scams Everywhere!
Yep, like every other business skirting about the unethical realm, the whole ‘let’s-buy-Facebook-Likes’ gig is burgeoning with scams. Here are a few well-known scamming practices:
- If it’s too cheap to be true, it isn’t (read $3 for 200 Likes. I’m calling bull$#!t on that one, folks)
- If the provider says the Likes are coming from real people, he’s lying. After calling him some choice names, hang up the phone, or end the chat, or whatever.
Last year, Facebook shut down 83 million accounts, claiming they were fake. Several celebrities’ fan pages (I’m looking at you, Rihanna) were affected, as were some very well-known brands. Facebook obviously intends to keep a close watch on its users’ authenticity. So if you have decided to buy them Likes, be prepared for a day when your page comes up a couple of thousand Likes short.
So there you have it. That’s what buying Facebook Likes is all about. In my opinion, it is an acceptable advertising sleight of hand to use when you want to make quick inroads for your online presence, especially if it has just been launched. If you don’t think it’s worth the trouble, there are many other ways to bolster your online business using genuine, legal marketing efforts.
So what’s it going to be? Trying your hand at becoming a social media illusionist or walking the straight and narrow? Your call. Choose wisely.