Many marketers agree that Facebook is the most important social platform when it comes to promoting a brand. Building a big following and generating organic engagement from that audience can yield great returns, making the process a critical digital asset.
But succeeding on Facebook, like anything else, takes hard work, patience and an understanding of what works on social media. In an effort to speed up progress and cut corners in building a social audience, some brands have tried buying Facebook Likes in an attempt to quickly increase their page followers. This sort of spending can add hundreds or thousands of new followers overnight, giving you a boost that makes your page look much more legitimate and mature than it did only days before.
Or at least that's how it seems. But the cosmetic gains of purchasing Facebook Likes aside, there's little to be won from this marketing tactic. There are, however, a lot of things that could go wrong.
1. Mortgaging Your Authenticity
The practice of buying Facebook Likes has been the subject of scrutiny among marketers and consumers alike. Many consider it to be a cheap trick used by marketers to mislead consumers about their brand.
As a result, any effort to buy Facebook Likes runs the risk of hurting your brand's integrity and alienating your customers, according to Yahoo! Small Business. Because these purchasing practices add followers in big numbers over a small span of time, it's often easy to tell when such practices have been used. For that reason alone, many consider it a strategy that isn't worth the possible stigma.
2. Dragged Down by Low Engagement
Facebook might not directly punish brands for buying Facebook Likes, but its algorithm will naturally ding your business page if you take part in the practice. You can blame your page's engagement rates: With thousands of new followers composed mostly of bots and spam, you're very unlikely to receive any engagement with your content.
Facebook's algorithm sees this low engagement rate — measured as the percentage of followers who've taken action on your content — and assumes your content isn't very good. The algorithm then lowers your organic exposure for that post and might continue to limit exposure for future content, since you've shown signs of being an uninteresting content creator. This can be a disaster for your Facebook marketing success.
3. No Long-Term Play
Even if the aforementioned problems don't appear insurmountable on their own, there's another, more practical argument against this spending practice: It just doesn't pay off. Each time you post on Facebook, it reaches only 10% of the people that have liked your page. So if you're investing in Likes, 9 out of 10 won't actually see your posts unless you pay to boost them. That's bad for your long-term ROI: You may be adding to your followers count, but you aren't increasing your chances for additional sales or conversions.
Even if you're thinking inflated numbers of followers will establish legitimacy and increase the prospects of future sales, your money would be better spent by funding campaigns that target relevant consumers.
Quantity isn't quality, and when it comes to generating leads online, quality always makes a bigger difference. Save your money on buying Facebook Likes and focus instead on building a brand that consumers will naturally want to follow.