Buying likes may seem like a logical way of gaining social media traction, but we’re going to look into the critical reasons why it may not be worth it.

If you want some ideas for organic ways to boost your social media audience, have a look at our 21 questions to ask your audience to increase engagement.

Buying Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers

Social networks are the flavour of the day, and their impact on the marketing world can’t be overestimated. Companies are competing for the attention of potential customers, many employing full-time ‘community managers’ to keep their social media accounts updated and buzzing. This state of affairs creates pressure for everyone, and many up-and-coming companies try to make up ground any way they can. In this quest to gather as much online followers as possible, they can be tempted to enter pay-for-clicks arrangements that could backfire.

A quick scan of the internet will reveal plenty of providers claiming the ability to boost your Facebook or Twitter stats for a relatively modest one-time payment. People are offering to add thousands of likes/followers to your company page almost instantly, and they will ostensibly deliver on this promise. Seeing the numbers skyrocket overnight might please the business owner on the short term, but the good feelings disappear soon enough, after it becomes clear that such a quick fix won’t move the needle in terms of sales.  Here is an explanation of why purchasing ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ is generally a bad idea, despite the fact that social media promotion is working like a dream for those who do it properly.

Some contacts are better than others

In the frenetic race for clicks, advertisers sometimes forget the primary purpose of social networking for companies is to create sales leads, not to chase empty numbers. It is certainly true that the correlation between high number of connections and improved sales figures is statistically strong, but this mechanism doesn’t work automatically. If your contacts are generic or fake, you won’t see any increase of revenue and might end up wasting a lot of time and money just to get taken for a ride.

Think about it for a minute. The reason why the size of your network of contacts is indicative of your market appeal is that it consists of people who voluntarily expressed their approval of your business or products. That kind of logic simply doesn’t stand when the bulk of your social media supporters are motivated by financial interest rather than genuine opinions. Even worse, the majority of these ‘likes for hire’ probably originate on ‘click farms’, where underpaid workers click on everything they are told to –typically under fake identities. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that such people will never buy or recommend your services in real life.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t

Look, we would all love to get rich quick and skip the boring part that involves hard work. This is impossible of course, and yet too many smart businessmen fall victim to their ambitions and trust someone who promises the moon on a silver platter. Well, if someone had the formula how to conquer the world of online marketing with a snap of his fingers, don’t you think such a person would run the most successful company in the world rather than selling this secret to you for a couple of hundred pounds (or less)? Nope, Google and Facebook don’t offer such services, so you get the message.

Internet promotion may sometimes look like magic to those who don’t understand the basic principles of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Optimization (SMO), but there is nothing mystical about it. There is a clear difference between realistic returns from investment into your online real estate (including your Facebook page), and shady schemes that rely on fake accounts and manufactured popularity. In the first case, the clicks can be expected to translate into sales, while the later will just give you a false sense of confidence and could even get you in trouble with search engines.

Building an organic network of support

The best way to profit from social networks is to use them to elicit interaction with existing and potential customers. This business model functions mostly as an electronic version of the age-tested ‘word of mouth’ marketing – if your product/service is good enough and you maintain an optimistic and user-friendly tone of communication, the word will get out quickly and travel far. You want recommendations that come from the heart, since their value is certainly not only poetic and could influence purchasing decisions to a significant degree.

Sure, this method is slower and probably more expensive when you count in all the hours that must be dedicated to the task. It is still a much better solution for boosting your online presence than attempting to buy likes and followers due to the quality of leads you receive in the end.

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