The number of small businesses using Facebook is steadily increasing, with more than 30 million SMBs now active on the social media platform. One practice which appears to be increasing in popularity is for a new business to increase their followers by buying ‘likes’. Sites such as fiverr.com allow people to purchase likes on Facebook for as little as $5 per 100. The belief a business page with 500 likes looks more impressive than one with 50 is understandable but there are three reasons why buying followers is a bad move for a business.
1) Fake Likes are Damaging to Edgerank
The ‘likes’ you can buy are not from real people – they will be from fake profiles registered en-mass by the same person or company. They won’t engage with your posts or provide anything other than a +1 to the followers count. While a Facebook user cannot see who has liked a page, Facebook itself can. Edgerank is a quality score used by Facebook to calculate the importance of your page. When Facebook detects the majority of your followers never engage with or view your page they will assume your page is of low quality and unimportant. Posts made by unimportant business pages will rarely appear on people’s newsfeeds.
2) Fake Likes are Suspicious
We have a client who has used Facebook as a business tool since 2010. PJ The Showman is a children’s entertainer who is very active on Social Media sites and has built up a Facebook audience of over 1500 followers. He posts daily and has a high level of engagement with the majority of his posts receiving likes and comments. It is easy to see why his page has so many likes, but for a new page to instantly gain hundreds of followers with very low activity or engagement… there is instantly an air of suspicion which can damage the trustworthiness of your business. It is better to have a few active followers on a busy page than many followers on an empty page.
3) Fake Likes won’t Help Grow your Business
Having a Facebook page isn’t a competition to see which business can score the highest number of followers, it’s a business tool for generating leads. It’s important to have that mindset else the time spent on Facebook will ultimately be wasted.
Alternatives to Buying Fake Likes
While buying likes is a bad decision, running a Facebook page with one follower doesn’t look impressive. If your business is new to Facebook then be open about it – ask existing clients to engage with your new page and encourage friends and family to share your content. As long as you create useful or interesting Facebook content your circle of followers will slowly increase over time. You can run competitions or special offers as an extra incentive for liking your page, just don’t see followers as just a popularity counter – see them as a means to growing your business.