Ever since Facebook became a dominant force in internet SEO, businesses and bloggers alike have been looking for shortcuts to the otherwise long and arduous task of building a Facebook fan base. But like most promotional shortcuts that have developed for websites over the past few years, buying Facebook likes is not a one size fits all solution.
While purchasing likes is one of the best investments that many small businesses can make, for others it may be little more than a waste of valuable capital. So who should buy Facebook likes, and why should they do it?
The Pros of Buying Facebook Likes
Getting Your Page Started
There is no denying that buying a few hundred Facebook likes is a great way to kick-start a business’s Facebook page. This is mostly because people are group-oriented creatures that take many social cues into consideration when making important decisions. For example, if someone stumbles across a Facebook page and finds only a dozen or so followers can be found there, that person will be prone to believing this absence of activity indicates something like a poor reputation or low popularity. Consequently, visitors might be disinclined to like the page themselves, leading to a vicious circle that can be hard to escape.
Buying likes can help overcome your initial starting point by giving the impression that your Facebook page is not a ghost town. Not only will you be able to collect more legitimate likes from real users, you will also be more likely to do business with anyone who finds that your page appears to be reputable.
Increasing Sharing Frequency
Having a page that appears populated will also increase the chance that your content will be shared through Facebook. Many businesses understand that there is a strong correlation between popular Facebook pages and sales or conversions, and some originations even cite a sales increase of almost one fifth between populated and unpopulated Facebook pages once social media widgets are in place to facilitate content sharing.
Synergy with Other Marketing
Whether a 20% sales increase is exaggerated or not, you should also recall that internet marketing campaigns live or die on the credibility of a business’s image. Apart from discouraging those who stumble upon your page to like or share it, a Facebook page that does not have many likes is prone to undermine your other marketing efforts by making it seem as though your page has low social credibility.
Cost Effective ROI
Last but certainly not least, buying Facebook likes is one of the cheapest forms of internet marketing available today. Depending on the number of likes you wish to purchase, it may only take five or ten dollars to get your page started. Compared to any other imaginable way to invest in your Facebook page, purchasing likes has one of the most cost effective rates of return possible. For example, five or ten dollars might purchase a few thousand clicks through AdSense, but how many of these clicks will ultimately end up liking your page is highly questionable.
The Cons of Buying Facebook Likes
Likes Don’t Solve Everything
It is important to understand that the likes you purchase from your page are not from real people. Usually, these likes come from inactive puppet accounts that are controlled by only a handful of individuals. Of course this also provides a good way of distinguishing more legitimate Facebook like retailers from less honest ones, because any business that promises to bring likes from real individuals is most likely deceiving you.
It is also important to realize that purchasing likes is not an end-all solution. You still have to market your services in other ways, engage the community of real people who do populate your page, and produce regular content for that page so that people have a reason to interact with and talk about your page. Buying likes will get the ball rolling, but keeping the ball in motion is firmly still in your own hands.
Edge Rank Pollution
Buying fans may have a negative effect on your Facebook page’s edge rank. An edge rank is how Facebook’s algorithm decides which content should appear in someone’s news feed, and it has a preference for posts and events that seem interesting according to the algorithm. For example, if someone posts a personal status update and it receives 45 comments and over 100 likes, that content is liable to shoot up to the front page of anyone who is subscribed to that person. Meanwhile, content that is posted in a similar period of time which does not receive much attention may not be visible without substantial scrolling or even having to directly visit the associated page.
Depending on how many friends and pages that a person is subscribed to, it may be only a fraction of a percent that ultimately end up in someone’s newsfeed. And because purchased likes do not come from real people, the inactivity of these accounts will not produce a strong edge ranking and may even pollute the ratio of active to inactive fans that you have. Keep in mind, this does not mean that purchasing likes is categorically a bad idea, but it does mean that likes need to be purchased in a proportion that will ultimately be evened out by real active users so that your purchased likes can ultimately have a negligible effect on your edge rank.
Faux Pas Practice
As you would expect, buying Facebook likes is not a socially accepted practice. The legitimacy of having a thousand fans for your page goes down the drain the moment anyone realizes that the likes come from a purchased service. If you do purchase Facebook likes, it is important to keep that information private in order to protect the legitimacy of your page.
As you can see, buying Facebook likes is not a one size fits all solution to your marketing needs. While some businesses stand to make great gains from the incredibly cost effective solution of purchasing likes, others may find little returns depending on how many likes they will need to purchase.
Even though the pros outnumber the cons in many instances, it is important to take a moment to consider what you hope to achieve from gaining more notoriety through your Facebook page in order to help you determine if the pros outweigh the cons for your specific needs.