I sit down with different businesses every week to discuss their websites, their online marketing and their brand. Inevitably I come across the same questions but one that I’ve been hearing a lot more recently is, “Should I buy Facebook fans?” When I ask these folks why they’re wondering or considering it, I get the same types of answers:
- If we have more fans then more people will want to like us. (The “follow the crowd” effect)
- It adds to our standing with a potential customer. Would you want to like a page or buy from someone who has 50 fans, half of whom have the same last name as me?
While there are some truths to these statements I turn it back on them: Do you think a restaurant should pay people to sit at tables so they look busy? And that’s when it starts to click. Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t buy Facebook likes.
- It hurts your credibility
Having a large number of Likes may sound great at first glance but there is a much deeper story to consider. An astute observer, like one who looks at how many followers you have, will notice that you have a lot of fans but very little engagement. How would it look to you if a page had 10,000 likes but no one ever likes nor comments on posts?Then there is the internet vigilantly to worry about. A competitor, a disgruntled customer, a journalist or just someone with a lot of time on his hands may out you as someone with fake fans. Their write-up can then show up at the top of Google when people search your brand name, which will drive some people away. Yes, you can gain an upside but if and when you fall, the results will be devestating.
- They’re not profitable
Customers sitting in a restaurant only generate revenue if they’re buying. Likewise, your Facebook fans do you no good if they just sit on your page and never interact, never share and never make a purchase. Fake fans hurt your Facebook marketing campaigns too. How? When you want to target a list of potential non-fans for a Facebook campaign, you have the option of having Facebook auto-generate a demographic list that’s similar to your current fan base. This is a marketer’s dream! Ideally you’d like to target potential customers who are just like your current customers because they’re most likely to buy and create a relationship with your brand. But if you “muddy the waters” with fake fans, Facebook will create an ad campaign based on those fakers. You could always hand-pick the demographics and psychographics yourself but that won’t be nearly as accurate as the list Facebook generates.
- They muck up your metrics
Fake fans muck up your data and make it much harder to draw conclusions from your metrics. If you want to be successful at social media marketing and online marketing, it’s crucial that you have accurate data and that you can interpret it correctly. Fake fans throw a wrench in that and make it difficult for you to make informed decisions. You’re better off not even trying.
What lessons have you learned about Facebook marketing and buying fans? Leave your comments below!
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