Social Media

Buying social likes is bad for business

Apr 11, 2019

There is no way to get around the fact that, for any business, social media is an important resource when it comes to advertising. The first step to making any sale is to get awareness of your brand and what you are selling, and the easiest way to do that is to put your advertising in the very place that everyone is looking. A 2017 report by Hootsuite found that there are more than 3 billion active social media users amongst the world’s population of 7.5 billion, so it is safe to say that that offers a considerable market.

Social media makes it easier for advertisers to find and target their chosen demographic, in part thanks to different target markets choosing different social media platforms and also thanks to the symbiotic relationship between social media and marketing. Social media platforms are often paid for by advertising revenue, whilst advertisers need social media to reach their audience so, in short, they need each other. For this reason, most social media platforms have tools available to help make advertising easy.

Whilst social media is one of the most effective places for businesses to advertise to potential and existing customers, advertising must be done cleverly. There is no real way to get around proper social marketing form, so if you want your brand to be successful you have to build up from the bottom. This means using savvy marketing techniques, rather than simply buying ‘likes’ and followers.

For many years, businesses have thought of buying likes as a fast way to success. Having a lot of likes on a new business offers what marketers call ‘social proof’, encouraging people to trust the brand and follow it. However, social media algorithms, and the users themselves, have become more astute over the years, and this practice could actually be your downfall.

Here are some of the top reasons that buying likes is bad for your brand and business.

Fake accounts destroy your reach

If you buy fans on any social media platform, it is likely that a number of these profiles will be fake accounts set up simply for this purpose. This means that these accounts are not active and will not engage with your page.

Facebook algorithms look at your engagement rate when deciding who to show your content to. Your engagement rate is the percentage of your fans that saw your post and interacted with it, by liking, commenting, clicking through to your site or sharing on their own page. If you have a huge number of fake accounts then the percentage of accounts that interact with your posts will obviously be much smaller than if you had a small group of highly-engaged fans. Facebook will thus judge your content to be of lower quality and reduce the number of fans who see it.

Smarter social media algorithms are also able to work out who is a genuine user and who isn’t by how they use their page, and will adjust advertising behaviour accordingly. You may find yourself penalised for your bought likes and missing out on reaching even your real fans.

Bought likes skew your data

As mentioned above, social media works well with advertising as algorithms can feed you back data about who likes your brand and how best to target them. Bought likes naturally skew this data, as everyone that apparently likes or follows your page is considered your audience, and algorithms will then project inaccurate information to you about who your fans are.

Fake accounts and disinterested parties who have no interest in your business will not help to promote it by reading and sharing your content. As mentioned above, their presence can also stop your actual fans being able to see your content. Not only will this prevent you from understanding who your true audience is, making it almost impossible to work out a long-term advertising strategy, it also affects your ability to connect with authentically engaged consumers.

Falsely inflated popularity hurts your brand

Online users are more savvy than businesses think, and a page which jumps up by over 1000 followers overnight isn’t going to go unnoticed. Existing followers may note the sudden surge in followers and become suspicious of your page, thus hurting the integrity of your brand. Once your followers are distrustful of your brand, it can be almost impossible to come back from this. If you do later decide to try to build a more authentic online following, you might find that it is too late.

More than this, it can look just plain sad for a business to have thousands of apparent followers, yet no one interacting with their page. It is far better to have a few genuinely interested and excited fans that can build your brand naturally.

Finally, most social media platforms have policies that expressly forbid buying followers. There are workarounds and you might get away with it for a little while, but you also might not. If you are caught you will be banned from that platform and will have to restart anyway under a different brand in order to get back onto the page. Honesty and authenticity is so important for any brand, it is not worth the risk of hurting it in this way.

Bought likes cost you more money

Not only do you have to pay for the likes and fans to boost your numbers in the first place, having a huge number of uninterested fans also costs you more money in advertising. If you want to boost your post so that more of your apparent fanbase see it then you will need to pay more, and you can’t choose which fans see your content so can’t avoid the fake accounts and bought likes. You may end up paying a lot of money for an ad that no one can see, neither your real fans nor your bought ones.

Wrap up

In summary, the only real way to success in business is to work hard and build it up organically. There are plenty of clever tips and tricks you can use to get plenty of real followers and likes, but buying them is just a waste of time and money.

The friendly and knowledgeable staff at MaxWeb can handle your entire online presence, including managing your social media. To find out more please call us on 0151 652 4777 or email and ask to speak to our website development team.

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