4 Reasons Why Buying Fans Hurts Your Brand

Purchasing Fake Facebook Likes Blocks Key Social Networking Achievements

Do you track how many Facebook fans you get on a weekly basis? Feels good when that number goes up, doesn’t it? It means people are getting your message and they like what you’re doing. Plus, it’s easier to get new fans when you already have plenty. Who wants to follow a page with only 100 fans? But 10,000 fans? Everyone wants to be a part of that trend.

So how do you get 10,000 fans? Buy them? There are dozens of companies who promise to deliver thousands of fans for $50 to $100 dollars. That’s cheaper than advertising on Facebook. But before you take out that credit card, here are four good reasons not to buy.

Fake fans don’t participate and they don’t buy

Fake fans will increase the “likes” on your page, but they will do nothing for your engagement. Essentially, your audience is still at 0, even if your “likes” count is 10,000. These profiles do not like, comment or share any of your content, let alone make purchases or visit links.

Last month, a friend (who should have checked with us first) spent $70 to buy Facebook fans for her page. She owns a small children’s boutique in San Diego and she was assured by the seller that the fans would come from a targeted list. Two weeks later, she had 5,000 new fans but most were young men from Russia and Asia. Not exactly her target demographic.

She learned her lesson and was glad it only cost her $70. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it.

Your real fans will notice and you’ll lose their trust

The real fans of the boutique couldn’t help but notice the sudden jump in likes on the store’s Facebook Page. That’s a social media red flag and savvy users will recognize it for what it is – a way to cheat the system. Since the retail relationship is built on trust, especially when it comes to repeat customers, a misstep like this could have those customers wondering about the owner’s ethics. If she’s lying about the number of true company fans, what else is she lying about?

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Inflated fan numbers lead to less visibility, not more

It’s been estimated that only about 14% of your Facebook fans see the posts you send out every day. That’s because Facebook uses a complex algorithm to rank content (EdgeRank) to determine which posts rise to the top of a news feed. They do this to keep users from being overwhelmed with a deluge of marketing posts every time they log on.

No one (outside of Facebook) knows exactly how EdgeRank is determined but we know that more active pages are likely to rank higher and show up more often. When you have 500 fans, 250 of whom frequently comment and like your posts, Facebook will reward you for having a high engagement percentage. Think about what happens to your percentage when you have 5,500 fans and only 250 are engaged?

A Sudden Loss of Fans Can Hurt Your Page

Facebook regular does maintenance of suspicious profiles, and often sweeps out thousands at a time, to remove nefarious activity, fake profiles and other violations of Facebook’s Terms of Service. Often, this can relate to a sudden drop of of thousands of fans and the removal of those likes from your page. If you bought fake fans for your page, and then Facebook sweeped out 5,000 of them, even if your page’s numbers had been increasing steadily, that sudden loss of fans will affect your page’s rank and engagement, as well as your current active audience that you purchased fake fans.

If that’s not enough to keep you from handing over your money to fan provider, note that buying fans is a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service. In a blog post dated August 2012, Facebook had this to say:

A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one. Real identity, for both users and brands on Facebook, is important to not only Facebook’s mission of helping the world share, but also the need for people and customers to authentically connect to the Pages they care about. When a Page and fan connect on Facebook, we want to ensure that connection involves a real person interested in hearing from a specific Page and engaging with that brand’s content. As such, we have recently increased our automated efforts to remove Likes on Pages that may have been gained by means that violate our Terms.

On average, less than 1% of Likes on any given Page will be removed, providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms. These newly improved automated efforts will remove those Likes gained by Malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes. While we have always had dedicated protections against each of these threats on Facebook, these improved systems have been specifically configured to identify and take action against suspicious Likes.

Since “action” can include banning your company from Facebook altogether, there’s simply no reason to risk it all just to make your page look more popular than it is.

Have a reputation problem you need solved? Click HERE for more information.

Have you ever purchased fake fans or noticed pages that have?

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