Social media can be daunting to the small business owner.
Social media can be daunting to the small business owner. In fact, social media can be daunting to even large businesses with vast resources to dedicate to their platforms. The reality in social media is that it isn’t always easy and proper management is key. A recent client asked us for help with their social media platforms, after making a staffing change in their marketing department; their likes seemed frozen and their engagement was lacking.
We took a deep look into the past engagement of the page, and found that only 1,000 of their 6,000+ likes were organic (likes generated by a user’s genuine interest in the product or service). In other words, the vast majority of their likes were bought. Some folks may think that buying likes is a quick way to boost your page past your competitors, or make your product/service more enticing, and they literally pay a fee to have thousands of arbitrary users like their page. It isn’t the end of the world to have bought likes, but more importantly it isn’t too late to begin reversing the effects bought likes can have on your page. With proper social media management, you don’t need to buy likes, and here is what we found that plagued our client, and could be affecting you too:
- Bought likes are commonly fake accounts. They aren’t real people. So while your number of likes might be hefty, your engagement, is not. In our client’s case, these likes make the page look heavily trafficked at first glance, but as you assess the individual posts you see that engagement is low with only three or four likes and no shares.
- Facebook isn’t tolerating fake accounts these days. Analysts at Facebook are assessing accounts every day and cleaning up the accounts registered on the site. As we dove into the insights for our client we found that every day they were gaining a few organic likes, but were losing 20+ from the removal of suspicious accounts; likes were frozen and in some weeks falling drastically, with what looked like no explanation.
- Your paid advertising dollar is being stretched too thin. When you pay for advertising, your dollar is being stretched across users that don’t exist. Unfortunately, you can’t filter out the fake accounts to ensure your active users are exposed to your advertising, so you are stuck advertising to a ghost audience.
To sum it up, bought likes can’t be the end all be all. If you are concerned with perceptions, and having large quantities of likes is important to you or your industry, you may consider investing in bought likes. The hang up with bought likes is that those users will never matriculate into consumers of your product or service. After your initial investment into bought likes, you have to work to grow your active users and begin creating an audience that will eventually matriculate into consumers and will take a lot of time, a lot of work, and a lot of money.
To begin to reverse the effects of bought likes on our client’s page, we went back to basics. We created several targeted campaigns that highlighted aspects of our client’s service that were most attractive to different audiences. We have to identify who our most engaged users are to create posts that will be most effective. As a business owner you probably have a perfectly rehearsed answer to “Who is your target audience?”, but have you considered your answer to “What spurs your target audience to act?”? Do they respond to promos? Do they respond to fear based marketing? Do women respond to different images than men? Understanding these answers is integral in ensuring your time and money spent on social media are well spent.
We have since identified marketing avenues for men and women separately and have begun increasing paid advertising focused around these avenues. As our ads hit active user’s news feeds we are gaining likes, increasing engagement and increasing the likelihood of user’s becoming customers or clients. All of our client’s insights are on the rise.
We won’t tell you not to buy likes, because we don’t know your business’s priorities. What we will tell you, is to think through your marketing and social media strategy intentionally, and identify the pros and cons of buying likes for your business. Don’t assume that higher numbers will generate more sales, because as we have shared, it won’t. Social media is a living being and if left neglected, it can hurt your business.