Starting a new Facebook page can be a depressing experience. Seeing your number of “likes” at 0, 10, or even 100 can be embarrassing. Especially when others in your industry have several hundred or thousands.
There is a temptation to turn to the “Dark Side” of Social Media marketing.
While I don’t see buying Facebook “Likes” to be wrong. Instead, it is self-destructive.
Who Sees Posts on Your Page?
Only a percentage of your Facebook Fans (Facebook “likes”) see each post.
Facebook does this because:
- It helps reduce the amount of random clutter in News Feeds.
- They can charge money for pages to get viewed by more of their audience.
“Like” building companies will say the “likes” they provide are from real people. You can not always trust what these companies say. They often pay people small amounts for each page they “like”. Rarely (if ever) are they interested in what your page is about.
Buying “likes” can hurt the number of people that see your content.
Facebook doesn’t set a particular percentage of viewers. They use an algorithm referred to as EdgeRank to make a decision for each post.
In this example, we will say Facebook will allow 20% of your fans to see your post.
To make the math easy, we will say you have 100 fans. Twenty people (20% of 100) will see each post.
Today you decide to buy 900 new fans bringing your total likes to 1,000. Sounds exciting, yet, for your next post you have only .4% chance of a real fan seeing it.
Protect Your EdgeRank
EdgeRank is the nickname for Facebooks newsfeed algorithm.
It determines who sees your content by looking at a wide variety of factors. The big ones being:
- If a Facebook user has “liked” your posts in the past.
- Number of “likes” the post gets.
- Number of comments.
- Number of page visits.
- The number of posts “likes” compared to the number of page “likes”.
Bad “likes” will bring down the total percentage of people who see your post. This is because they will not “like”, comment, or visit your page.
Is it okay to do advertising?
Yes, yes, yes… Well, maybe.
A Recent Study
In 2014, a group of university professors did a study on Facebooks “likes”. They compared those gained through Facebook ads versus companies selling “likes”.
We deploy a set of honeypot pages, promote them using both methods, and analyze garnered likes based on likers’ demographic, temporal, and social characteristics.
The study involved creating thirteen Facebook pages that all called “Virtual Electricity”. All pages had no posts or pictures. To ensure people wouldn’t “like” the page, they included “This is not a real page, so please do not like it”.
Some individuals could still “like” a page with this description. This is why they included this with all the pages in the study.
Five pages had Facebook ad campaigns promoting them. The remaining eight pages used “like” generating companies to increase their “likes”. These companies included Boostlikes.com, SocialFormula.com, AuthenticLikes.com, and MammothSocials.com.
I feel this quote sums up the entire experiment.
We stress that our findings do not necessarily imply that advertising on Facebook is ineffective, since our campaigns were specifically designed to avert real users. However, our work provides strong evidence that likers attracted on our honeypot pages, even when using legitimate Facebook campaigns, are significantly different from typical Facebook users, which confirms the concerns about the genuineness of these likes.
Remember, these pages were created so that real people would not “like” them. Why would they like a page with no content that says it isn’t an actual page? Yet, Facebook was able to find people to “like” the page for a price.
This doesn’t mean that using Facebook ads on legitimate pages will only bring you “fake likes”. Instead, you need to keep a close eye on your Facebook insight date and make sure that you see a benefit for what you pay.
If you would like to see the specifics of that study, you can see it all through arxiv.org.