Should You Buy Facebook Likes?

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Stuart McKeown’s Picture

Stuart McKeown

Buying 5000 Likes was easier than writing this post, but should your business do it? And if not, what should you do instead?

One question that comes up a lot when we talk with businesses is:

Should we buy Facebook Likes? Since we’re a new business we need to quickly appear more credible to potential users. Achieving this number via a contest or through Facebook ads directly could cost upwards of $1,000 & we don’t have that sort of money to spend.

And to be honest I personally don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this question. It all depends on your motive for buying the Likes in the first place.

Why Might People Buy Likes?

Let’s have a look at why people might buy Likes, then we’ll look at how it could impact their business in the long run:

New Music Band Looking for Gigs

Let’s say you’ve just launched a brand new band & you’re looking for gigs. Having a band page with 47 Likes might make you less appealing to anyone that might want to book you.

So you go out & purchase 1000 Likes for $50.

Now this particular scenario is hard to argue against, because essentially it comes down to ethics. Are you willing to fake your popularity in order to have some short term success?

New E-Commerce Business

Let’s say you launch a brand new E-Commerce business, often users will look at Facebook as a gauge of credibility when making a purchase. Would you buy something from a brand new company that only has 24 fans on Facebook? Even if their prices are cheaper? Whilst I think some still would, there’s a large porportion of people that wouldn’t – credibility means everything.

So again in this scenario, jumpstarting your Likes could be a good way to fake that popularity initially until you start getting traction organically.

How Might it Harm You in the Long Run?

Buying likes is a short term strategy, I’m sure you already know this. But how can it impact your business as you start to scale?

Hurting Your Credibility

I’ve seen examples of businesses that launched & instantly had thousands of Likes overnight. Depending on your industry this could easily be spotted (seeing when someone has purchased Likes isn’t that hard) – you could be called out on it, which could hurt your credibility with users.

This is a risk that you take when buying a large number of Likes quickly after launch. I’m sure you’ve seen the story of Mitt Romney being exposed for buying large numbers of Twitter followers. Whether it was his doing or not, who knows?

Reducing Your Organic Reach

On average in Facebook posts only organically reach about 16% of your users. Therefore many business have to rely on boosting posts or running Facebook ads to drive more interaction & engagement on their pages.

On average we reach about 10-25% of our organic fans with a post. With posts we boost we have been able to reach up ~2600% more people – however we often see no noticeable uptick in engagement.

So what does this mean? Well for a start it means that you could potentially end up paying money to reach users that aren’t actually interested in your product or service. Rather than reaching your organic Likes that do want to engage with you (because they like what you do).

So that $150 upfront that you paid for 5000 Likes could end up costing much more as you start investing in Facebook Ads (if you do).

Likes Aren’t a Measure of Success

facebook-page-likes

Likes are a really fuzzy measure of real business success. We could have 40k Likes on Facebook & still be making the same monthly recurring revenue. Do not buy Likes if you think they will make your business successful overnight, because you will be sorely disappointed.

It’s all about how you engage your community & use Facebook as a platform to drive business outcomes. Likes themselves will not equate to revenue, they do help with credibility – but only up until a certain point.

Here’s a Facebook success story from one of our own customers MIISHKA.

Don’t Expect Conversions

Buying Likes is purely a vanity exercise, you have to think closely about where these users are coming from:

  • On some sites you will get Likes generated by bots – fake accounts that will never engage with you at all.
  • You may get a large number of Likes from Foreign countries where it’s cheaper to acquire Likes.
  • You may get Likes from people who really don’t care about your business. Would you prefer a like from someone who only likes 100 pages vs someone who likes 5,000 pages? But they both have the same number of friends.

facebook-likes-users

What side of the fence do you sit on? What have your experiences been with buying Facebook Likes?

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