When it comes to Facebook, how interested in something do you need to be before you are willing to click the little thumbs-up icon that denotes that you ‘like’ that person, business or organisation? Let’s be honest, for many of us, it’s a pretty low bar.
If there’s a competition, something free up for grabs or simply if you think that a page is likely to offer you something you might want, most of us are quite happy to show our appreciation and click away. So with genuine likes relatively easy to gain, many may not be aware of the black market in paid for likes; the process where ‘likes’ are purchased in large numbers, at a very low cost. In fact, 1000 likes could cost you as little as £15.00 and a staggering million likes are on offer for a very reasonable £10,000!
The trouble is, the perceived value attributed to ‘likes’ means this business of fake likes is booming. For less than the cost of a single page of print advertising, businesses can access to thousands of profiles set up solely for the purpose of adoring the company and adding perceived value to its name. However, the issue is that, as with all forms of commerce, oversupply has in fact devalued the Facebook like to the point where the numbers are in danger of been stripped of any form of meaning entirely. They may still have value now, but in twelve months will we still see the value or will we view any page with a decent number of likes with an air of skepticism and mistrust, like a sustained drug scandal hitting an elite sport?
A true ‘like’, from a genuine Facebook user, has value not only as an endorsement, but for the fact that if a living, breathing person thumbs-ups your business it means that any updates you then post may work their way onto that person’s news feed, increasing visibility and provided a potential touchpoint for sales.
Conversely, fake likes come from fake accounts run by robots or poorly paid workers on the Indian sub-continent, who work in shifts 24/7 and whose sole purpose is to click a button. Likes from these Facebook accounts may seem to add value but in reality, they won’t net your business a penny in revenue. At best, they may deliver a few appreciative nods from passing visitors. At the end of the day, robots can’t buy products, endorse claims, share updates or help promote anything beyond being a notch on the virtual bedpost of an organisation’s popularity. Business opportunities cannot be sought and interest cannot be generated when the only users seeing your posts are people that don’t actually exist.
Inflating a company’s online status with counterfeit likes is arguably as misleading as creating fake online reviews for your business. These fake ‘Likes’ quash the original saleable impact of the product or service they intend to promote, devaluing real fan-based ‘Likes’ in the process. In the end, the process could drastically alter the company’s professional image.
Not only do fake ‘Likes’ affect the credibility of a company on a superficial basis but as Facebook warns its’ members, “these third-party vendors often attempt to use malware or other forms of deception to generate fraudulent ‘Likes’, which is harmful to all users and the internet as a whole”.
There are of course legitimate agencies, such as MTM, who boost fans and improve engagement on social media the honest and effective way, through hard graft and creativity. Businesses like MTM know that there is nothing quite like standing on the steadfast ground of genuine interest and support.
Buying fake ‘Likes’ won’t drive long-term engagement, or sharing, or customer loyalty, or sales. It won’t help develop your brand’s community. It undermines the real value of social media to a brand. Put simply, a Facebook page with over one million Likes with a stagnant community will not benefit the brand but it might seriously damage it.
If you are interested in increasing levels of engagement through social media, give MTM a call today. We are here to assist you to make the most out of your existing activity and devise new ways to engage with your audience.