The days of print are behind us. Everyone knows that; and while there might still be a few old-timers clinging to the Yellow Pages or newspapers for advertising, most of us have moved on. More specifically, our target audiences and our advertising dollars have moved to different platforms. Social media platforms, from Facebook to Instagram, are the newest and best ways to get your message to the masses. Unfortunately, many businesses aren’t savvy in the ways of digital advertising and thus suffer from lack of exposure as a result. For these businesses, buying likes (especially on Facebook) can seem like an easy, cost-efficient way to generate a large following and thereby a greater influence in the social media sphere. While that may sound tempting, there is a multitude of reasons why you shouldn’t do it- here are our top four:
1. You’re Probably Buying Fake Accounts
While it’s true that your page will grow, quickly, in terms of page likes, in actuality all you’re paying for is a number of fake, one-off accounts that will do nothing to help your brand. Most of the accounts that companies use when you pay for likes are just that- accounts empty of any content and registered simply to help bolster your appearance. Why is this harmful? Well, Facebook uses a number of sophisticated algorithms in order to deliver content to its users. One of these algorithms looks at the number of ‘organic’ (people who like your page) followers that you have, vs. the amount of interaction you have on your page. So, for instance, if your followers grow from 100 to 200, a 100% increase, but Facebook sees that fully half of your followers don’t interact with your page, it’ll value your content as worth less than other pages. The problem only gets worse the more followers you buy. Finally, what ends up happening is that your content gets buried behind those more highly rated pages, and the entire point of your purchase is lost. Instead of reaching more people, instead, you lose the ability to communicate with those you already had.
2. Your Statistics Will Be Off
Remember those algorithms we talked about earlier? Well, Facebook employs many different types of those. Aside from the one mentioned above, Facebook also uses the information gained from your followers in order to offer you information tailored to your business. This information includes many different things: age, sex, location, and even interests, all of which you can use to expand your business influence and help your message reach more people. Unfortunately, when you buy Facebook likes, you’re giving up any possibility of accurate information. All that data, which is useful in so many different ways, become obsolete. The reason for this, of course, is that the accounts are fabricated. If they’re not downright fake, then they’ll, at best, be purchased from disinterested parties with no bearing on your actual business. As any good businessman will tell you, information about your clients is one of the most valuable things you can own. Don’t give that up for the sake of a few extra page likes.
3. You’re Not Being Authentic
While it’s not technically illegal to buy likes (though fake accounts do violate Facebook’s terms of service) when you purchase likes you’re presenting yourself inaccurately. Say, for example, that you’ve recently opened a bar in downtown New York. You want to make a splash, so to jumpstart your page you purchase two thousand likes from a ‘reputable’ company. It works, the likes come pouring in, and you consider your job done. Except, of course, you aren’t. Whenever real clients come to look at your page, they’ll see your massive amount of followers (where are those fake followers from? Do they even live in New York? Is one of them Bob from Arkansas? Why does he like your page?), and your relatively new page, and will know that something is off. This is especially true when you make regular postings and garner very few reactions. A page with two thousand followers and three likes per photo will raise suspicion in even the most casual of Facebook users. This is very similar to buying positive reviews on other websites, and nothing puts potential customers off more than disingenuous behavior from a business.
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4. You’re Costing Yourself More Money
Many businesses on Facebook use the platform’s large audience as a place to advertise, and for good reason. The website reaches many millions of people, and it’s usually worth it to spend the money on campaigns in order to attract the attention of potential customers. However, Facebook also uses your ad dollars to advertise to customers you’ve already got. If you’ve paid to purchase followers, and then subsequently pay to advertise on the platform, then you’re spending money to send ads to inactive accounts with no possibility of success. There’s no solution for this, either. You’re simply sending money down the drain, the good after the bad.
Though it can be awfully tempting to try and bolster your business with paid-for likes, the negative consequences outweigh the positive by a large margin. In the end, it comes down to trust; when you put your name and company out there, people are trusting you with their business. If you’re faking it, they’re bound to find out and the backlash is worse than if you’d done nothing at all. So be smart, do it the right way, and put your business on the map in a genuine, positive way.