We recently had a team discussion at Thinktank Social about the concept of buying ‘Likes’. As this is a service that is readily available now, and is being utilised, it was important for us to discuss as an agency. After casting our minds to a neutral space, we collectively concluded that we weren’t fans. In fact, we didn’t like it. And I disliked it so much, that I decided I wanted to write a blog post about it. So, the following blog post could be considered your classic ‘rant’. Read on if interested…
This is why I disagree with purchased Likes.
It’s completely tokenistic. If your brand’s credibility is based on the number of people that have clicked a button on your page, yet have no interest in what you do or anything you share, you need to re-assess your approach. Numbers are great, don’t get me wrong. But if they’re bought, they have no meaning.
It meets one objective – what about the rest? Likes growth is an objective of social campaigns and working on a social presence. When we want to build a bigger presence through social, of course, the number of Likes on your page is an indicator of a growing presence. But it’s not the ONLY thing we look at and it’s not necessarily the most powerful metric. You might want to increase traffic to your website; create a community vibe on your brand page; increase sales/lead generation; grow your database. You might have lots of Likes on your Facebook page, but they’re not spreading the word about you, so your other (very important) objectives remain unmet. Well done on the Likes, though…?
Bought Likes won’t love you. They won’t be your brand ambassadors, they won’t tell their mates how good you are, they won’t laugh when you post a funny picture on a Friday. They won’t buy your product – they don’t even know what it is.
The savvy ones will know… If you’ve got 20,000 Likes and you’re Talking About This metric (engagement metric) is sitting on 120, it’s likely to be one (or more) of the following things: (a) you’ve acquired these numbers in the past, but now you’re not engaging your community through your content, (b) you’re not posting any content at all, or (c) you’re purchasing Likes. Either way, they’re on to you… And it don’t look good.
Now, I love an analogy. So let me put these to you.
- Giving a speech to a room full of people where 80% of them are wearing headphones. They don’t interact, they’re not listening and they’ll never be aware of what you’re talking about; they’re there because they’ve been paid to be there. Maybe they’re mannequins. Actually, yes, they’re mannequins.
- Cooking your signature dish for 100 people and getting really excited about hearing them rave about it. Only a couple of people give it a try and they really like it. But unfortunately, the other 97 people are mannequins.
- You’re launching a new product and it’s the day of the big launch, where a product expert is attending to check you out. The expert enters the launch party to see a room full of people – impressive! They soon discover that, while your product is amazing, no one is talking about it, using it or sharing the word. They’re also a little confused – maybe even annoyed – as to why they were invited to a party where most of the guests are mannequins. You better have plenty of booze.
Facebook is designed for interaction. While we want people to Like our page, it shouldn’t end there. We want them to talk to us, share our content, talk about us to their friends. That’s what Facebook is for. Growing a genuine community that helps you make your brand look good is the way to go; you just can’t get that when you purchase a few thousand Likes online.
One of our values, around our business and social media for our clients, is transparency. Buying Likes seems to be anything but. It’s a big no-no to be disingenuous when it comes to social, not just because you’re in a public forum where word travels fast, but because every Like is a person. And when you actually think about it, that Like is extremely powerful. Use it. No matter how slow-going the process of growing a community is for you, at least you can say your fans are real people, there for a reason.
What are your thoughts on purchased Likes?