Should You Buy Facebook Likes?

Last week, I received the following question from a reader about buying Facebook Likes:

What about buying likes outright? We’re thinking about buying 500 or so likes through a service like “buyilikes.” We would do it because we want to portray ourselves as an established company providing high end services, and ~40 likes shoots us in the foot. Will buying likes of fake people cause any harm?

– Ted

Don't Buy Facebook LikesIt’s a question I get often. The short answer: No way. Don’t do it. Don’t buy Likes.

Anything that doesn’t bring in an authentic “fan” won’t help you.

Today, let’s cover…

  1. Why Brands Buy Facebook Likes;
  2. Why You Shouldn’t Buy Facebook Likes; and
  3. Alternatives to Buying Facebook Likes

By the end of this post, I hope to not only convince you that it’s a terrible idea to buy Facebook Likes, but to help educate you on productive, easy and cost effective ways of increasing your Likes while maintaining your dignity.

Why Brands Buy Facebook Likes

Look, I get it. When you start out, it’s hard. You have 40 Likes. When you post an update to your Page, no one responds.

Maybe you need to impress your bosses and show them that you’re building an audience. Maybe you think that no one would be willing to Like a Page with only 40 Likes.

Desperate, you artificially inflate the number of your Page Likes. I understand why you do it or are tempted to buy Facebook Likes. But here’s the deal…

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Facebook Likes

There are three main reasons I’d strongly advise against this practice:

  1. Ethics: It’s Just Wrong;
  2. Stats: It’ll Hurt You; and
  3. Value: You’re Throwing Money Away

When you buy Facebook Likes, you are paying a service to load up your Page with Likes from fake Facebook profiles. You will never hear from these people again. They aren’t people at all.

I don’t know about you, but this just feels… wrong. If you are a person or brand with a conscience, this should feel wrong to you, too. It reflects badly on you, and it reflects badly on your brand.

You know that little metric called “Talking About This?” It’s under your Cover Photo. When a prospective new fan comes to your Timeline, they may look at the total number of Likes. But they’ll also look at Talking About This, which indicates the number of people who have engaged with your brand during the past week.

If you buy 90% of your Likes, you can bet that your Talking About This is going to be miniscule. And that tells a prospective fan who doesn’t know you bought those Likes that you are simply not interesting.

This would also negatively impact your EdgeRank, which helps Facebook determine whether the content you create is relevant and worth showing to particular users. If a very low percentage of fans engage with your content, that will mess up your EdgeRank.

Well, first we’ve determined that if you buy Likes they aren’t real people anyway. But the actual real people may not see your content because the fake ones destroy your EdgeRank.

There is absolutely no value in this. You’re throwing your money away. Keep in mind that creating fake profiles violates Facebook policies. You are trying to work the system by creating inauthentic Likes. Facebook is likely to ban many of your new Likes and they may even flag your Page. You don’t want to get on Facebook’s bad side.

Alternatives to Buying Facebook Likes

Now that we’ve established that you shouldn’t — EVER — buy Facebook Likes, you’re undoubtedly asking… Great, smart guy. So now what? I still need to get more Likes. FAST!

No worries. Here are the things that you need to do…

1) Invite Relevant People
You may be tempted to invite all of your friends to Like your Page. I’d again caution you against inviting anyone who will ignore your content. They may just Like it to be nice, then never read anything you write again.

So invite friends and family who may have an interest in your niche. But also send an email to customers on your email list inviting them to Like your Page.

2) Promote Your Page Online
If you have a website (I sure hope you do), you need a Like box or button that promotes your Page on all major pages of your website. If you’re already on other social networks, invite those followers to your Facebook Page.

3) Promote Your Page Offline
Create signage within your store, inviting customers to Follow You on Facebook. Make sure to briefly describe the value you will provide (“for daily deals!” or whatever it is). Put this message on receipts, cards on tables or anywhere else customers may be looking. Make sure that you have a vanity URL that is easy to remember.

4) Run Contests and Offers
If you want to get people excited about Liking your brand, go viral. Create a great contest or run a Facebook Offer. When people participate and engage with you, they will create a story that is shared with their friends. Suddenly, your fan base grows naturally.

5) Be Interesting and Provide Value
This should be a very high priority for you: What value does your Page bring? If you can’t think of any reason someone would Like your Page (other than We’re awesome!), you need to go back to the drawing board.

It can’t be all about promoting yourself. Value could be in exclusive deals, providing information on general sales and specials, giveaways, etc. But outside of those things, you need to be human, interesting or funny.

6) Run Ads
All of the things above cost nothing or close to nothing. The thing is, if you were already willing to buy Likes, you should be willing to run Facebook ads.

You don’t need a large budget. Spend $50 once to attract anywhere from 50-150 new fans. Or have a low monthly budget to do this regularly. It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg. You can get a lot out of Facebook ads while spending very little.

In Conclusion

The desperation to buy Facebook Likes comes down to frustration and a lack of education. Building a solid, engaged, REAL audience isn’t difficult. You just need to know how to do it.

Do you have a story about buying Likes? Share it in the comments below!