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Muddywall | October 26, 2014

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Buying Facebook Likes Doesn't Fool Anyone

Buying Facebook Likes Doesn’t Fool Anyone

Ok, so a slightly skewed view on this as today I suspect my old employer of buying ‘likes’ after I had tried so hard to accrue genuine Facebook likes just months ago.

If there is one thing I hate more than the over usage of hashtags in tweets, it’s people and businesses that buy ‘likes’.

Isn’t asking friends and family to ‘like’ your page just the same?

No it isn’t because unlike bought ‘likes’ these people had a choice whether to click the tiny blue thumb or not. The same cannot be said for the many people whose accounts are being hacked into each day and then sold on as unofficial likes. This is just one shocking place unofficial ‘liking’ is sourced from.

We all know that thousands of fake accounts are set up each day to satisfy the demand of hungry bosses willing to throw money at faking popularity on Facebook. They don’t understand that they are destroying their brand and their relationship with their real customers. Ultimately it is violating Facebook’s usage policies, and they are pretty hot at sussing people out. It might not be the business in question creating the fake profiles, but I’m pretty sure once they take one look at who the fake profiles ‘like’, they will be removed from all Pages quicker than you can say ‘Fiverr’. Worst still the business page might be flagged, banned or even deleted forever.

So how can you tell who has bought fake fans?

Off the top of my head I can think of three glaring indications that something just isn’t quite right and we will start with the least obvious, or at least the hardest to spot.

1. Size of Your Metric Does Matter

Just under the cover photo of a business Facebook Page lays the name, and underneath this is a clever little metric called ‘Talking About This’. This indicates the number of people who have interacted with the page through liking and sharing of posts and commenting in the last week. If the business was guilty of buying for instance over 80% of their ‘likes’ this metric would no doubt be tiny. A tiny metric also indicates the business and its content isn’t very interesting. Whilst this clue may not be as easy to spot, the second is a real doozer.

2. Your Fans Don’t Dig Your Swag

I have lost count of the amount of pages I have come across with the number of ‘likes’ in the thousands but no one has ‘liked’, ‘shared’ or commented on any of the page updates and photos. A good example of this was a coupon deal website and their Facebook page that had amassed over 16,000 ‘fans’ yet the average ‘like’ on each post was hovering around 2 and comments were even less.

3. The Houdini

This clue would mean keeping track of the number of ‘likes’ a page has on a daily basis for a few weeks. However there is method behind the madness. For example should the ‘likes’ have been primarily sourced from hacked accounts; the victims would slowly be finding random content appearing on their newsfeed. This would be rather confusing and most probably result in a mass ‘unliking’ exercise. All that money well spent faking popularity being burnt one dollar at a time. Ouch, redemption for the hacked!

Living life on the EdgeRank

One thing people tend to forget about is the adverse effect fake fans has on content. Facebook uses a little algorithm called EdgeRank that works behind the scenes scoring content based on interaction and promoting it (or not) into certain positions within a fan’s newsfeed. Now say the majority of these fans are fake the interaction is going to be low, this will have a detrimental effect on the content and the real fans may never see that hot piece of information.

An Alternative to Buying Links

Know your audience and just try harder.

So the morale of this article is businesses should not under estimate the power of Facebook. Work with it and not against it and if used right Facebook can be a real crowd puller.

The importance of a great social presence is becoming more important these days, so much so it can make or break a company. Don’t get broken!

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Jonny is an SEO, social media and content manager at Everon SEO and has worked in the online digital industry for a little over 4 years. With a background in web design, Jonny helps local businesses every step of the way online whilst constantly maintaining and improving their image.

  • sociometrist

    lol I enjoy the conclusion… “try harder”.
    There are things a business can do to improve their facebook likes and have those likes be highly engaged with your content. Unfortunately for this comment, I only share that information with my paying clients, so no spilling the beans about how to go do that. I will say that businesses need to start thinking about communication differently. They should study what the popular on facebook are doing, how they are communicating, how they are interacting within the context of their communities and looks to replicate it for themselves.

    • jonnypcraft

      sociometristthanks Dan, you are right a little research goes a long way when decided what to post on Facebook. I find timing really helps too, taking time zones into consideration.

  • ElsaReilly

    great article although i dont entirely agree with 2, i have a brand new page with 279 Likes with 220 talking about it but if you look at my get the odd Like or Share. On the other hand i have a football page where majority of LIKERS are from India, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and there is a LOT of engagement..lots of shares etc. My experience is that when you target US/US/AU countries..its a lot more hard work to get them to participate.

    • Jonny Craft

      Hi Elsa, thank you for your comment. I have recently watched a video about Facebook ‘Like Fraud’ even when you pay for the legitimate ads. The video points out the fact that many click farms genuinely click on random pages to hide the paid clicks. Worth a watch Another interesting observation was that the majority of likes came from India, Pakistan and Egypt. Food for thought.