There is no denying that a Facebook ‘Like’ is indeed a powerful thing; with many online fans using this action to convey their undeniable support for your brand or product. We all know that buying follower Likes and views on social networks is a bad idea. But exactly how does it harm a business?

With daily active users of Facebook reaching 665 million, the opportunity for your company to connect and gain an unwavering volume of customer support from across the globe has been behind the motivation for many to join. That, and of course to ruffle the feathers of the competition.

In today’s social media landscape, small businesses and big brands alike have used a variety of social media marketing activities to grow their Facebook community using images and videos to engage followers, running creative social media campaigns and competitions, offering special discounts/coupons and engaging in active discussion.

Unfortunately, not all strategies are worthwhile or even permitted with some companies buying ‘Likes’ to inflate their page’s popularity and to oversell their standing.

A recent documentary on Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ shed light on this. Travelling to Bangladesh, the film-maker Chris Atkins explored the vivid world of ‘Click Farms’. Here within the unsanitary slum streets, poorly paid workers are hired to manipulate powerful western brands, though fake Facebook ‘Likes’ and YouTube ‘Views’.

We can all agree that scraping together a pittance of an income from dishonest employment is bad enough, but what effect is this unscrupulous Facebook marketing tactic now having on the online business community?

You may be thinking, “it’s just a few ‘Likes’ on a Facebook page, no one got hurt.” But it does matter because it adds legitimacy to the brand. “If millions of people ‘Like’ this product, maybe I should buy it too? They can’t all be wrong!”

Inflating a company’s online status with counterfeit Likes is arguably as misleading as reading a fake online review. Devaluing real fan-based ‘Likes’ in the process, these fake ‘Likes’ quash the original saleable impact of the product or service they intend to promote. The process in the end drastically alters the company’s professional image.

Not only does it affect the credibility of a company on a superficial basis but as Facebook warns its’ members, “these third-party vendors often attempt to use malware or other forms of deception to generate fraudulent ‘Likes’, which is harmful to all users and the internet as a whole”.

There are of course legitimate Social Media Agencies  who exist to boost fans and improve engagement on social media the honest way. These businesses know that there is nothing quite like standing on the steadfast ground of genuine interest and support.

fakeBuying fake ‘Likes’ won’t drive long-term engagement, or sharing, or customer loyalty, or sales. It won’t help develop the community.  And it undermines the real value of social media to a brand. Put simply, a Facebook page with over one million Likes with a stagnant community will not benefit the brand.

So how can you determine the Dons from the Cons on Facebook. Read our top tips below on how to spot if a company has lied about their ‘Likes’:

1) High number of ‘Likes’ but no engagement
Is there a high ‘Like’ volume but a low engagement score on the page? If the fan base impresses you but there is a distinct lack of personal comments, photo ‘Likes’ and engaging content, then beware.

2) Check the demographics of the fans
Is the location of the fan base at odds with the company’s? If the company is global then yes, fans all over the world is a distinct possibility, but if the company is a small local firm based in Congleton, with an impressive number of fans who live in Bangalore, than this is more than enough proof that these ‘Likes’ are fake.

3) Check the PTAT scrore
‘People Talking About This’ is a metric designed by Facebook to highlight the volume of fan interactions within the last 7 days. You can read more about this metric and how it works here

If there are 5,000 ‘Likes’ on the page but no interactions then you can be pretty certain that these fans are not interacting; because they are fake!

4) Travel back in time
Go back and check out the Timeline. If the number of ‘Likes’ has dramatically increased in a matter of days or weeks than this is always a good indicator to a recent purchase of fake ‘Likes.’

In this digital age there is no denying that Social Media Marketing rules the roost. There is nothing not to like about a free and powerful global marketing platform, open to both SMEs and Blue chips.

But like all relationships in business, successful interactions are built on trust; which only then lead onto profitable transactions both now and in future.

As Facebook reminds its members, “A Like that doesn’t come from someone truly interested in connecting with a Page benefits no one”.

If you want to create an engaging, relevant community on social media,  get in touch with our team today!