by Dorota Umeno on September 30, 2011
Let’s face it, whether you like it or not (no pun intended), if you’re trying to compete for eyeballs in today’s digital space, it’s likely that Facebook likes matter to you. If you are a private person with a personal blog you’re pushing to Facebook and sharing with your network, then likes are one way you know that people read your blog and enjoy what you have to say there.
Facebook likes definitely matter to your bottom line if you are managing a Facebook Page for your organization. Your Facebook Page serves as a very public point of engagement for your brand, possibly as a tool for testing the market with new ideas about your product or service, a place for fielding kudos and complaints and connecting with your existing and future customers. Your Facebook Page exists to help you become and remain relevant to your market.
There’s solid data out there suggesting that we really care about what our friends (and really, anyone we find relatable) think about products and services we’re considering. According to a recent survey, 84% of of respondents said that online reviews influenced their purchasing behavior. This is significant because in our rapidly evolving information economy a small fry competitor can come from behind and beat us to the punch if they are better at engaging the people who should be our customers with compelling, like-able content.
And so likes matter because they send a signal about the value of your content and help you attract new fans. They function like a visual “word of mouth” since they are visible to your Page’s fans’ friends and acquaintances who automatically become part of your Facebook Page’s extended network and more likely to visit your Page.
But forget mere likes by your friends and their friends and simple, modest WOM. The story out there (I would like to see some data – if you have it, please send it my way!) is that at 1,000 likes something magical happens. This phenomenon called the “chain reaction effect” kicks in and causes likes to generate more likes until your Facebook Page gathers some serious like momentum.
What’s the chain reaction effect? When a person likes your page, it will be posted on their profile and sometimes in their friend’s news feed. When this happens, more often than not their friend will check out your Facebook page and will “like” it as well.
The bottom line here (if I haven’t made my point already) is that with Facebook at 800 million active users, likes have become the social currency and the proxy for actual value for a large number of netizens, including a solid percentage of your current and future customers if you do business in the United States of America. Some recent statistics indicate that 90% of all people go online to buy or make purchasing decisions and nearly 42% of individuals have Facebook accounts.
Given the high value of being like-able, it was just a matter of time before some enterprising individual figured out that there was money to be made here by selling likes for your Page. Call me naive, but I was not aware of the existence of this “seedy underbelly” of the Facebook like world. Sure, we all have heard about “Black Hat” SEO techniques that involve buying shady links from doubtful sources as a way to boost a site’s rank in search engine results. (And as we posted here and also on our website, we don’t play that way – we believe in honest links and earned rank, not gimmicks that can hurt you in Google search listings.) So the first time I came across an instance of peddling likes for dollars – on a nifty little website called Fiverr, I don’t recommend going there unless you have an hour to kill, it’s quite addictive – I was surprised (well, for about a minute). But it makes perfect sense. And so I decided to investigate and check out what’s “out there” in the world of like peddlers. Here’s my brief report from the field.
Disclaimer: None of the sites I list below have been vetted by us or anyone we know. I found them the “old school” way, I Googled buy facebook fans. So if you choose to partake, it’s caveat emptor, baby. And just to be clear, I don’t recommend you do this, but neither do I explicitly recommend against it. Buying “fans” feels vaguely dirty to me (it makes me want to take a shower), but hey, it’s not illegal, and apparently a booming business. All of Confluence’s likes are earned thanks to the awesome content we share as well as asking our friends to like our page lest we un-friend them… kidding! But yeah, we did ask our network to like our page.
The following list of “lucky” 7 is organized from most expensive to least expensive. One thing that’s obvious is that all of the the like sellers are “wholesalers”. The business of Facebook likes is mostly about quantity, not quality – although a few of the companies differentiate between “untargeted” (and therefore less expensive) and “targeted” likes. The idea is to trigger that desirable “chain reaction” which supposedly starts at 1,000 fans, so forget likes by the dozen. The lowest number offered was 500 and so I standardized to cost/1000 “untargeted” fans for the purpose of the comparison.
1. FanBullet.com: Fan Bullet promises to get your fans… fast! Their price per 1,000 is $69.95. They also will sell you Twitter and YouTube followers and even offer Bundled Deals.
2. LikesandFollowers.com: Like their name implies, these guys also sell Twitter followers and all manner of other followers. They suggest clients start at 1,000 fans, since “Buying 1,000 or more fans usually kick starts the chain reaction effect”. Their price for 1000 is $69, guaranteed in 1-2 days – that’s under 7 cents per like. They offer plans up to $499 for 20,000 (yes!) fans.
3. 100sFBfans: This company specializes in Facebook fans, no other followers can be bought here. But they do offer 1000 Facebook fans for a mere $67. That ‘s less than 7 pennies per like!
4. Fan Page Hookup: (Who came up with that name?) These guys to go even lower: $57 for 1000 fans. That brings your cost-per-like (new metric – CPL?) to under 6 pennies. Nice. In all fairness, fan peddling is not their only business. They also design Facebook landing pages.
6. Bulkfans: (Oh, why bother pretending, it’s about quantity, not quality… Buy Fans in Bulk, much like any other commodity) Bulkfans’ angle is all on international fans. They don’t just go low on cost, they go high on speed. They promise 1000 fans for $55 in 3-5 days! And they offer plans.
6. fbfanshop: fbfanshop is an Australia-based outfit offering 1,000 fans for $25 (their “Bronze Fan Package”). They’re up on the latest as they now also offer Google Services, meaning they’ll sell you Google +1 votes along with your Facebook likes.
7. Fiverr: You can’t go any lower than Fiverr in your quest to buy likes. Dozens of individuals on there are pimping their Facebook “friends” for a mere $5 for anything ranging from a few dozen to nearly 5,000 likes. It’s crazy cheap digital love. They don’t guarantee results, but hey, there are some very happy people on there who vouch for the effectiveness of this approach. One of my personal favorites on there is Daytona, who offers to use her “Hooter Girl powers” to get likes for you page from her nearly 5,000 “very hungry, eager and responsive friends” who “are ready to jump” at her signal and like your page. So, if your product or service is likely to appeal to a fan of a Hooter Girl – do you sell action figures, video games or adult entertainment – then Daytona may be able to help you.
At this point with no data to prove or disprove my point, all I can offer is my gut-feeling based opinion spruced up with some common sense. Take it as you want.
Since the fans you buy (provided they’re actually real people, not bots) are not likely to be selected based on their interest in your product or service, why would you want them? What business wants a bunch of likes from people who are not likely to ever be customers? And doesn’t adding all those “fake” fans muddy the waters by hiding the true indicators for how well your content is working at attracting and retaining customers? Buying likes takes away the reason for having good content on your Facebook Page. But if you don’t care to engage with your actual customers, why bother having a Facebook Page at all? So I personally plan to stay away from buying Facebook fans. I hope that the content we create attracts the right, targeted clients.
If you disagree, please respond. I don’t mind being proven wrong. Maybe in your line of business buying likes makes sense? So if you choose to proceed and buy likes through any of these sites, please report back. I’d love to hear about your experience.
Photo Credit: Reuters
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