Every business wants more likes, more engagement and more action on its Facebook page. But, it’s not that easy — and it takes time.
You’ve probably heard about businesses buying followers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. In fact, a while back, Yelp caught businesses buying fake positive reviews. But, who cares? It’s just a minor distraction and nobody will notice, right?
Wrong. Marketing companies have made a lot of money buying fake likes from click farms and other non-reputable sources – welcome to the dark side of the social media world.
It was reported in 2013 that the U.S. State Department was criticized for spending more than $600,000 to buy Facebook fans and boost its popularity on social media. This is not considered social media best practice.
Social media giants such as Facebook, YouTube and even Google have put new tools in place to screen out auto-generated traffic and clicks, deleting millions of fake profiles and penalizing the companies who tried to shortcut the system. Click farms are dangerous for your business. Sure, your numbers will look good when you show a report to a CEO or board member, but this can have an adverse effect on your business in a number of ways.
You can’t make informed marketing decisions.
Part of knowing where to invest your online marketing dollars is seeing the reactions of social networks. If you have purchased 10,000 fake likes for your Facebook page, how will you know if your content is actually viewed and shared by the right prospects? And the right ones could be masked by the fake ones, making your ROI numbers impossible to determine correctly. Remember the golden rule of social media: it’s not about quantity, but quality. If 70 percent of your followers are from Berzerkistan, chances are, they won’t represent your true followers. This will affect advertising rates and your media plans.
Customers become distrustful of your business and brand/products.
Eventually you’ll get caught. Period. While some consumers won’t care, enough of them begin to wonder how accurate any of the counts they see could be. That’s not a good attitude to cultivate, especially if you are using social media to engage in a dialogue where you want to be relevant and perceived as legitimate, professional and trustworthy.
You will create an unfair advantage for your competitors.
Twitter or Facebook likes, Youtube views, and so on are more than empty bragging rights. They create the perception that a company has a lot going on on social media platforms, and consequently, there’s something going on worth attention. If your competitor has 200 times more followers than you, consumers, prospects and partners might think that this is the place to go, even though most of those numbers are fabricated. How could all those bots be wrong?
Your online reputation can suffer. For months.
Getting caught purchasing fake followers will damage your reputation online and can backslash on your marketing plan and goals. It will take more time and more money to fix the mistake than it would to invest in legitimate online marketing campaigns.
So, what can you do? Social Media is not an exact science and certainly not a number’s game, unless you are Lady Gaga. Think before you act:
- Will I get caught?
- Will I lose my good followers and the opportunity to grow organically?
- If the network notices, how many followers will I lose along with all of that money I spent acquiring them?
Do not succumb to the click farm temptation. Content distribution, social media strategy and patience are essential. Many case studies have shown that effective social media strategy requires a lot of planning and research.
But, don’t worry, there are social media experts out there who can help. Because social media is time sensitive and audiences have different interests, it is important that you choose a partner who can help you grow your followers, and more importantly, keep them coming back for more.