Why Buying Facebook Likes Will Destroy Your Business In 2019
You want to buy Facebook Likes. And you think this is a good idea.
But something inside you tells you to wait.
Lucky you. You have come to the right place.
Because I am here to:
a) keep your business safe from harm
b) tell you a story
Let’s get up close and personal, dear reader.
Sometimes late at night, when I’ve sipped some wine and my dear dog has finally fallen asleep I like to contemplate deep stuff. Love, life, food, social media.
And throwbacks are inevitable.
I remember creating my first Facebook account back in 2009. Oh, the innocent days! Things were different then.
We uploaded photos generously and likes, commented and shared without giving it much thought. You do remember that too, don’t you?
Today things don’t work the same way though.
Us Facebook users have become “trained” and wary.
We have developed an almost strategic method of navigating through the platform and have become extra careful who we spend our precious likes on.
The ultimate purpose of this is to help ourselves build a useful newsfeed with no irrelevant stuff and white elephants anywhere near us.
If we are to devote an average of 35 minutes a day on Facebook, then it might as well be time well spent.
In this context, the rise of competition and a desperate hunt for social media boost come as no surprise.
My best friend recently started a new business selling handmade yoga mats. Yeah, I know, pretty cool.
She’s been doing this as a hobby for a while now and when she finally told me she wants to go fully professional with it she asked for my help.
It doesn’t take a fortune teller to guess that my first suggestion was Facebook.
Facebook for business today is what Yellow Pages were in the ’70s. If you weren’t in it you didn’t exist.
So we did what every respectable business newbie would. We designed a cute logo, did a photo shoot and created a Facebook page. We uploaded everything and started hunting for Likes.
I’m pretty sure you know what I mean. You “like” every relevant page, invite friends to “like” yours and start commenting on every yoga related post.
It was grueling. Fun but grueling.
And in the end, after two weeks of trying to build our Facebook presence and credibility we had only managed to collect a discouraging total of around 100 Likes.
My friend was devastated.
She is a housewife and mother of two and she felt like she would never succeed in anything else than cooking or drawing Peppa the Pig for her children.
A few days later she suggested we buy a few fake Likes to boost her page.
I tried to encourage her. To explain how all good things take time. And how she should never ever ever buy Facebook likes or followers.
I know what you’re gonna say. Every one does it. Oprah Winfrey did it. Kendall Jenner did it. Even the President of the US did it!
So why not me?
In order to fully understand why fake Facebook Likes are the worst thing that can happen to your business we have to take the story from the beginning.
The True Story
Fake Facebook likes isn’t news.
Although we can’t specify the exact time it began, we know that its history goes a long way back. And is still going strong.
In 2012 Facebook purged 66.000 fake Lady Gaga fans, 199.000 Texas Holdem Poker fans, 72.600 CityVille fans while other big brands such as Breaking News and Air New Zealand lost between 1%-2% of their fans.
In 2015 Hillary Clinton was accused of buying Facebook likes based on the fact that her fan base included more people from Baghdad than any US city.
Facebook in 2017 announced that it had begun a purge of fake accounts that targeted publishers.
In 2018 Devumi, a company with over 200,000 customers, selling social media bots on Facebook and other social media platforms, closed down after an investigation prompted by a New York Times report about how the company raked in millions of dollars.
This settlement was one of the first legal actions in the U.S. against social media fraud.
Where Do All These Bought Facebook Likes Come From?
In June 2017, Thai police raided a rented home in Bangkok, discovering a massive “click farm” run by three Chinese men.
In it were found hundreds of iPhones wired to computer monitors, SIM cards, computers and laptops.
They were used to sell views and likes.
“Click farms” are one of the biggest online scams and a major scourge for social media giants.
According to Facebook’s 2014 financial report, 83 million fake accounts were deleted, which makes for 11.2% of the 1.3 billion total accounts.
They didn’t delete the fake likes though. But we’ll get there later.
Today, there are an estimated 83 million fake Facebook profiles.
And Facebook does its best. In just three months time, from January till March, 2.2 billion fake accounts were removed from the platform.
In one of his blog posts, How Does Facebook Measure Fake Accounts, Facebook VP of Analytics Alex Schultz stated that “when it comes to abusive fake accounts, our intent is simple: find and remove as many as we can while removing as few authentic accounts as possible”.
And continues to describe the methods used to eliminate fake accounts.
Farms, or “follower factories” as The New York Times called them in their article, generate fake Likes with several methods.
Usually, they either create fake accounts or take control of real accounts whose passwords have been leaked or captured through spying software.
India, the Philippines, China, Indonesia are some of the countries were flick farm hubs have emerged. All countries with low wages and high tech penetration. And they control thousands of fake social media accounts, either through bots or real people.
For example, in his article The Bot bubble: how click farms have inflated social media currency, writes about Richard Bragg’s click farm that started in 2013.
It had more than 100 phone verified accounts, used by 7 employees who worked round the clock shifts so the farm would never go dark.
And it’s not a fun job, let me tell you. According to the Guardian‘s article on click farms:
“for the workers, though, it is miserable work, sitting at screens in dingy rooms facing a blank wall, with windows covered by bars, and sometimes working through the night. For that, they could have to generate 1,000 likes or follow 1,000 people on Twitter to earn a single US dollar”.
The moral question here is, if you don’t buy clothes made under poor working conditions then why would you buy Likes?
What Exactly Is A Click Farm?
Click farms are where social media standings are boosted.
With a simple Internet search, you will find hundreds of websites offering their services where you can place your order for media influence for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even YouTube.
Cheap, the packages can be bought for as low as $2 for 100 likes or even 10.000 for $260.
Click farms are centralized places that belong in the astroturfing category. And as much as I love the word, it’s not as innocent as it sounds.
These companies were born to create the impression that something is real, while it’s actually fake.
Likes, comments, views, followers, they are all created from low-paid laborers to manufacture social media impressions and viral content.
The “farmers” are hired by celebrities, politicians brands or practically anyone looking to boost their profile or brand awareness. Sometimes they are even used by fake news writers who want to get their headlines onto “most read” lists.
Along the way click farms have developed different tactics in order to fight back the “social media police” and stay active.
For example, in order to obfuscate their traffic and avoid detection they not only like the pages they are paid to like but they also click through ads and “like” related pages, something which they’re not paid to do.
This makes it much harder for Facebook to pick them out.
Yes, fake Facebook Likes have evolved into an endless cat – and – mouse game that continuously hurts the social media fair game.
Is It Legal To Buy Facebook Likes?
This is where things get shady.
According to Wikipedia:
“there are no government regulations that render them illegal, but click farms do breach a number of laws”.
In spring Facebook filed a lawsuit against 4 companies based in the People’s Republic of China for selling fake accounts, likes, and followers on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms.
The company explained: “by filling the lawsuit, we hope to reinforce that this kind of fraudulent activity is not tolerated and that we’ll act forcefully to protect the integrity of our platform”.
What they say though is this:
“Likes created by fake accounts or people without real intent are bad for people on Facebook, advertisers and Facebook itself.
We have a strong incentive to aggressively go after the bad actors behind fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results. Businesses won’t achieve results and could end up doing less business on Facebook if the people they’re connected to aren’t real. It’s in our best interest to make sure that interactions are authentic, so we staff a number of teams to detect fraudulent activity and shut it down.
We work hard to ensure that the connections between businesses and people are genuine and meaningful and want to share the resources we have to help you understand where fake likes come from, the defenses we have in place and tips on how to safeguard yourself from fraudulent activity.” (Source)
So, while click farms are not officially illegal, they aren’t exactly legitimate either.
Practically, no harm is caused when someone buys fans and likes. It is though morally questionable.
For starters, fake Likes destroy healthy competition. And this has a downright bad impact on innovation and improvement.
One more thing to consider is that if you buy Facebook likes you consent to abject working conditions.
Not only are click farms using extremely low paid employees but they also offer poor working conditions.
Whichever way you look at it, buying fake Facebook likes and followers is downright bad. For you, your business and others.
Buy Facebook Likes: 7 Reasons Why You Should Not To
I know why you came here in the first place. To get a quick answer to your question “will I make more money if I buy Facebook Likes?“.
The short answer is NO!
Many companies have tried it and report their disappointment.
Why fall for it?
1. Baby don’t hurt (your Edgerank)
You may have 10.000 Likes on your Facebook page, but this doesn’t mean you also have engaged audience. And bought fans don’t mean much to your business.
Because they don’t increase your Edgerank.
Edgerank is Facebook’s algorithm that measures your engagement.
Likes, shares, comments, all kinds of interactions.
And it determines which posts will show first in people’s feeds.
If you only post quality and relevant content, people will eventually engage with your content. Which will lead to good Edgerank.
With bought likes, engagement is low which means that no one will actually see your posts. Was this your purpose? I didn’t think so!
2. The noncredible Hulk
Think about it. You see a page with a couple of thousands of likes. So far so good.
And then you scroll down to the first, the second, the fiftieth post and you barely see any likes and comments. Hm, something smells fishy here, right?
Your real followers will understand this as well and then you can say goodbye to your page’s trustworthiness and sales opportunities.
Building a credible, verified Facebook page is a strategy that requires your money, time and effort. But it’s totally worth it.
I know. A few dollars for a thousand Likes sounds more than tempting. And especially if you are new to the game chances are your budget is limited.
But doesn’t it also sound too good to be true?
Remember. The true purpose of Likes is to help your page reach the desirable audience and raise brand awareness.
Which, like I said before, is not gonna happen if you buy Facebook Likes. So, if you succumb to the temptation you’re basically spending money on people that will never become real customers.
Alex Tachalova, Founder at Digital Olympus comments:
“Each time I hear about buying likes, clicks, links, etc., this funny video by Adobe company comes to my mind. On a general note, I think it’s quite pointless.
What’s the point in getting tons of fake likes that won’t change a thing in your Facebook page engagement? I’d rather spend this budget on thinking over how you could “buy” likes from a target audience. For instance, you can send to your leads and clients some swags in return for liking your page.
This will allow you to have only relevant people among your audience. Some time ago I wrote a solid post about how to keep your SMM engagement above average, and I think you can pick up some ideas from this post as well.”
Once you realize the pointlessness of your decision to buy Facebook likes you will invest on good and effective advertising that is guaranteed to deliver results.
4. Lower organic reach
Organic reach on Facebook is the number of people your posts are exposed to without any paid actions behind them. It’s a very important part of your marketing strategy and you should always pay attention since it changes fast.
Lilach Bullock, Content Marketing Expert, agrees:
“Buying Facebook likes can be very dangerous – and for a lot of different reasons. For one thing, Facebook is pretty good at catching these things so if they see you have a lot of followers, suddenly, and very little engagement, they might just catch on and penalize you too.
It could cut down your potential reach and it could even make it difficult for you to make any Facebook ads to your existing audience – after all, what’s the point if they’re fake and have no interest in your business anyway?”
If the majority of your Likes comes from fake followers, you’re most likely not going to improve your Facebook social reach. Because you are targeting the wrong people. Oops!
5. Before you can say Hack Robinson
Who would have thought? #notyou
Facebook Like sellers may sometimes be hackers! Can you imagine the consequences of giving them your payment information?
Yes, you expose your business to a number of web vulnerabilities. Welcome to the dark side of Facebook.
You probably don’t want to hear this but not all sellers are good sellers.
Low-quality ones might be using stock software to manage their payments, which can cause more than one security breach.
Worst case scenario?
Some sellers might even get just enough information to hack your account.
6. Hard Goodbyes
Fake likes come from fake accounts. So, in order to clean your page, you need to remove all the fake users. Which is not as easy as it sounds.
Remember how Facebook deleted 83 million fake accounts but didn’t delete the fake Likes?
That’s probably because removing them is a tedious process that can take forever.
You can start off by reporting fake users so Facebook removes them from the site but this doesn’t remove them from your page. So think twice before blemishing your page.
7. Honey, I destroyed analytics
Analytics is one of the strongest weapons of modern marketing.
Without it, it’s impossible to know whether your efforts are profitable or not. But fake likes are killing your analytics.
Because they give you a false image of what actually happens on your page.
Consequently, you will never be able to understand what works and what not.
Or what your next step should be.
Why Do People Buy Facebook Likes?
It’s so easy to be “liked” nowadays. It’s actually a few dollars worth.
Which makes you wonder what the real value of a Like is. Still, we all go after them.
A little blue thumbs up may not be catalytic for your business, but it’s an important piece of your marketing mix nonetheless.
1. They are a kind of social proof
Facebook is all about how your customers see it. And the truth is that a page with few likes doesn’t give out the right message.
A respectable number of Likes helps your page come across as a well-established business in the eyes of your future customers.
On the other hand, if someone sees a fairly new page boasting a few thousand likes they will most probably consider these likes bought.
A good number of likes on your page is great social proof that validates your business in just one visit.
2. They boost brand awareness
Every Like matter.
Because every time someone likes a post of yours, it shows on other people’s feeds.
This way they start remembering your company’s name, recognize it and ideally begin engaging by liking, commenting and sharing.
3. They are prestigious
Practically, Likes don’t mean much.
They are not a true endorsement and don’t correlate to revenue.
But there’s something much deeper here. The way people interpret them.
It might seem shallow but when a visitor sees a page with many likes they realize this is a popular page, which means they will get something helpful. And so they “like” it too!
So, Should I Buy Facebook Likes?
I’m sure that by now you are convinced that fake Facebook likes are not what your business needs.
And that makes more than happy.
So you deserve to know the best alternatives before you dare to buy Facebook likes that will help you establish your brand and reach your target audience.
Content for the masses
No, I will not repeat myself.*
All you need to know is that in order to get more Facebook likes you must first start with your existing audience.
Take advantage of your fans (no matter the number) and aim at pleasing and inspiring them.
As Hugh Beaulac, freelance SMM manager and content strategist at MC2 says:
“If it’s tempting for you to buy Facebook likes, don’t hasten to spend money on this idea. In 2019, this idea won’t bring you great results. Modern social media users are smart and savvy; they crave authentic relationships with brands on social media, so it’s more likely they will brush fake Facebook likes aside.
Moreover, having many Facebook likes doesn’t mean having many customers. To acquire customers, you need to put them and their needs first – think about their pain points and try to create content that can solve their problems. Once you start posting useful content, you’re more likely to attract and hook your target audience, and therefore increase the number of Facebook likes without buying them.”
Create unique, useful and relevant posts that your audience will want to share and go the extra mile by creating videos since they are now the #1 type of content that consumers want to see on social media.
If they like your posts and think they’re valuable enough they will most likely share them with their friends. Which will then become your friends too!
*(pssst, content is king)
Define your target audience
Fake likes only bring you followers who will most likely never become your customers.
Which is pretty much pointless.
Instead, you should aim at collecting likes from people that will value your brand and truly engage.
A great way to start building your strategy is with the help of buyer personas.
Personas are a helpful starting point in order to get to know your target audience and create your posts accordingly.
Make your page easy to find
Improve your page’s visibility, thus increasing your chances of getting Likes.
To achieve this you must have an easy-to-discover page name that ideally combines your business name with a keyword.
Especially if your business is new or niched you should add the right keywords next to your name so you appear high on the searches.
Also, don’t forget to add Facebook Follow and Like buttons to your website or blog, or even better, embed an entire post of yours.
Host a Facebook contest
An effectively run contest is a great way to build a following and brand recognition.
As a matter of fact, 35% of Facebook users Like a page so they can participate in contests and bring in 5.5 times more comments than regular posts.
The Watsons Facebook page is a great example.
Their posts usually get around 5 to 10 Likes and very few comments.
By creating a contest post they managed to collect more than 600 Likes, 470 comments and 200 shares.
Just by offering 10 beauty sets! Not bad for one post, huh?
Inviting people to like your page in exchange for a prize is a great way to increase your followers since it’s an offer they can’t refuse.
Just make sure you’re offering something really valuable and to the right audience.
Run Facebook ads
Facebook ads are a great tool for expanding your reach and growing your likes.
You don’t need a high budget for advertising.
Just choose the type of add you want to use such as Reach Ad, Lead Ad or Boosted Ad, as well as the format.
This can be images, carousel, collection, video and more.
Closca Design, for example, goes for a sponsored photo ad that does a great job of showcasing their products and empowering their message with the right copy.
There’s a big difference between paying for Likes and paying for ads.
Steven Van Vessum, VP of Community at ContentKing explains:
“I recommend against buying Facebook likes. It’s just a vanity metric that people, incorrectly, obsess about. The true value is in engagement. How many people engage with your posts, and what business goals do you hit through that? Maybe they’ll sign up for a newsletter, or buy a product from your online store. Bought Facebook likes don’t engage, it’s just a waste of money. And there are many examples to prove this.
Now, running targeted Facebook Ad campaigns to gain likes is a different story. That’s a good way to build an audience on Facebook, but always keep your eyes on the price: hitting your business goals.”
The ad you should create depends on your business because not all are suitable for every kind of page.
You might want to check your competitors before you decide 😉
The add appears on the target audience’s feed and with a CTA invites them to take action, visit, like your page and more.
You will be surprised by the numbers you can gather in a few days and with only a small budget.
It’s not just a good profile or relevant content that can increase your likes.
A strong presence on Facebook can take you a long way as well.
Build relationships with others, interact with your fans, ask questions and comment on posts to grow steadily and gain a memorable presence worth following.
Yes, email marketing can make you popular! With just one simple email automation and some clever content.
Bed Bath & Beyond engages their email marketing audience with social media with this playful email, calling subscribers to “get in the social swing”.
All you have to do is set up a simple email sequence, such as the new customer automation by Moosend.
This email sequence is triggered every time a subscriber becomes a customer.
If you want to make a difference you should always thank them for their purchase and by the way, ask them kindly to show some more love by following and liking you on Facebook.
Two birds with one stone!
How To Spot Fake Facebook Accounts
The bad news is that even if you didn’t ask for it, fake Facebook accounts may hamper your social media marketing campaign.
Attracting fake followers is bad for your business because it means you’re engaging with no one.
Plus, fake followers could easily hack your real followers’ accounts. Or yours!
And even if they don’t, they mess with your engagement, rankings, and conversions.
Spotting fake likes is, of course, a tough job.
But someone has to do it. The signs are there after all.
Pay attention to the profile picture
The first thing to look at is the profile picture.
Usually, fake accounts use a profile photo that they’ve downloaded from somewhere else.
And it’s often low quality. To see if a picture is “borrowed”, just Google it.
If the photo is from a fake account you will probably see loads of matches.
Searching for fake Facebook profiles I came across this one.
I clicked on the profile picture, which of course was low resolution.
So I searched it on Google. And hit home.
Now, I don’t know who this girl is. But the Facebook profile above is definitely not hers.
Count the photos
Okay, some people just don’t post photos often.
Still, how many of your friends have less than, say, 5 photos.
It may be themselves, their dog, a beach they left their footprints on or a homemade burger.
Still, they do post something.
And it’s real. On the contrary, a fake account usually has one or only a couple of photos, usually generic and low quality.
Continuing with the same example, I searched for her photos.
The only one I found was her profile picture.
Which is very suspicious if you consider her age and the way she poses for this particular selfie.
Call me biased but this doesn’t seem normal to me.
Count the friends
Balance is key here. I bet none of your real Facebook friends has thousands of friends.
But they don’t have, say, 3 friends either. Let alone one. I mean, seriously?
The number of friends, though not always an absolute indicator, can help you spot a fake account.
Check the URL
This is not a rule, but yes, many fake accounts will have a different name displayed in their URL.
This is an indicator of hacked or fake accounts used for different purposes.
Be careful though because some people change their displayed name for various reasons such as privacy.
Comb through their activity
There are some common patterns among Facebook users.
Most of them actually use it!
They post pictures, share articles and have comments under their posts.
On the contrary, fake Facebook accounts have a fairly empty timeline with next to zero activity, then something is probably wrong here.
You must keep in mind though that someone’s activity largely depends on their age. Young users post more often while older ones infrequently.
What about their network?
Fake accounts have fake friends.
They engage with each other’s posts and even leave comments to further the illusion.
There are whole networks of fake accounts out there and if you pay close attention to the clues you might finally see light at the end of the tunnel sooner than you imagined!
Your parents were right. You must strive to succeed. And, paid social recognition? Come on, you can do better than that!
Choosing the “dark” side not only doesn’t help you reach your marketing goals but also hurt your page irreparably.
Succeeding on Facebook is not rocket science.
You just need to offer good content, be consistent and focus on your target audience. And the rest will follow.
Ever bought Facebook Likes?
Your experience might prove valuable for others, share it with us in the comments below!