People sometimes ask me, “Hey, Denise, why are you all into this organic stuff – and we are not just talking about the food you eat. Why is important to develop your social media community organically? Why can’t we just buy a few thousand likes, followers or website visits?”
Well, the truth is that you can. You can do this and it will achieve your short term goals. For example, if you want to increase your Twitter/Facebook community you could buy likes/followers and thereby achieve your goals.
However, what is the aim of these short term goals? What is the bigger picture?
These short-term goals are there to help you achieve your long-term goals.
Let us look at an example. If Sally Scissors from Scissors cuts Hair Salon decides that she needs to increase her product sales and gift voucher purchases, she may feel after initial assessment that this would be best done online.
Right, so she develops an awesome online store but the problem is no-one knows about the store and she has very little traffic, in virtual terms – there are very few people walking into her store.
Okay, so she decides that to generate more ‘ buzz’ about her online store, she will get onto Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to connect with potential clients and get feedback from her current clients.
So, Sally Scissors gets offered this great deal via email or perhaps via the Social Media platform itself. Buy 5000 likes for just $20! 5000 likes!? That is 5000 potential customers right!? It’ s quick, it’ s easy, no hard work and Sally Scissors will be building her business in no time at all! Can you see the problem already?
Where do these likes come from?
Let me tell you. These likes are generated by paid-to-like programs, phony profiles, malicious code on third-party sites that use Facebook’s like button, or a like button is coded to get people to like a product or brand other than the one they see.
Most often they will not offer you likes by the target market you are after, they will offer you likes by people in other countries instead of local users for your local business, likes are temporary and people will quickly unlike your page if it is not of use to them and sometimes these likes are from fake and duplicated Facebook profiles.
All of this will negatively affect your reach. Why? Well, let’s look at Facebook. You know that metric called “Talking About This”. If you buy 90% of your Likes, you can bet that your “Talking About This” is going to be very low. This will 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, your reach will diminish over time.
So initially, you may see huge growth online but ultimately, there will still be very few people walking into Sally Scissors’ online store and her community/reach will be even less than when she started this journey.
Ultimately, it’s just not ethical to buy likes, fans or followers and will hurt your business in the long run. For brands, authenticity is huge. Trust is huge. Violating trust not only makes you look dodgy, but it can get you and your business in a lot of trouble, if not with Facebook /Twitter, then with potential investors and/or actual customers or fans. Your best bet? Grow your fan base the good old fashioned way. Engage with people via your social media platforms, market your social presence and create good content that makes people actually want to ‘like’ you.
Advertising through the right channels may help you to increase your reach but the best way to develop your social media community is to work hard, educate yourself, love what you do and be patient.
Grow your online presence organically and you will see the “fruits” of your labour.