Should I Pay for Facebook Likes?

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Facebook Likes for SaleIt’s not too hard to find companies that will pay people (or bots) to like your Facebook page. The question is: should you?

I was playing squash with my good friend Christopher today and in between games he told me there was one question he didn’t get answered at the Social Media FTW conference the other day: why wouldn’t you pay for Facebook likes?

It’s a valid question. Do a Google search or check out Fiverr and you’ll find plenty of companies and people willing to supply hundreds or thousands of likes to your page. If likes are the currency of Facebook, what’s the downside? How is it different than spending money on advertising to get people to like your page?

There are a number of reasons why I feel buying likes on Facebook is a bad idea.

  1. These likes have no ongoing value. The people who get paid to like your page are never going to be your customer. The fake accounts they use to like your account? Even less chance.
  2. Facebook looks at the fan to engagement ratio when evaluating your page. In short, imagine ABC Corp’s page has 500 fans and an average of 5 comments/update from fans. Meanwhile XYZ Co. has 1,000 fans, but it also has 5 comments for each update it posts. In this case, ABC looks like a more valuable, engaging page.
  3. Facebook is smarter than you. You don’t think it knows that people are paying for likes? I’m sure it’s got algorithms up the wazoo to look for suspicious liking. A sudden surge in likes, a lot of direct traffic to the page (as opposed to people clicking around Facebook and ending up on your page), and the same random group of people who like a hair salon in Topeka one moment and a pet store in Portland, Maine, the next. I wouldn’t be surprised if certain accounts have been tagged as “unlikes” because their liking is so spammy.
  4. It’s different than ad buys to direct people to your page. In the end, an ad can only entice people to visit your page, not to like it. You’re paying for the opportunity to grab their attention, not get a like.

What do you think? Would you buy likes?

Rich Brooks
We Get Likes The Old Fashion Way…We Beg for Them. (Like Us?)

  • http://twitter.com/MegStiffler Meghann Stiffler

    Never buy fans, likes or followers! That should be a cardinal rule! I mean it is common sense when you think about it… If you think it’s a bad idea… It probably is! :)

  • Mike Johnson

    I’ve actually given this topic a lot of thought lately. With two start-ups, it’s hard to get that initial following. I’ve considered paying for one of these tools, and here’s my reasoning: People are more likely to take a certain action when the can see that a large number have already done so. It’s the same premise for putting a Facebook box, showing the number of Likes, on your website.

    That being said, I have also thought about the same arguments you pose in your article here. I have yet to make a solid decision, but I’m leaning towards NOT buying the likes. In that case, any tips for building likes for a start-up, with a very limited budget, and less than excessive time to write articles?

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Mike, I had forgotten about the “social proof” argument for buying likes. If you ever do buy likes, I’d be interesting in hearing the results. Don’t worry, you won’t have to out your client. :)

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t do it because I want people who have at least some interest in what I do to be looking at my page.

    One way I have seen my genuine likes rise is to have my page like a similar page. Seems to be a good way to generate interest from their readers.

  • Anonymous

    Mike, I clicked on your profile so I could look at your page – but there’s no information available.

  • http://twitter.com/simpleseotips simpleseotips

    I have actually found myself in a very similar situation with a new blog I have started.
    “People are more likely to take a certain action when the can see that a large number have already done so” was my rationale also and I wished to add a Facebook Fan Box widget to the blog.

    One Fiverr gig later I had 200 new likes to a page.
    The good news for me was that I could get my Facebook page vanity url but the bad news was that about 95% of these new likes were young women with a lot of clevage which I needed to delete as it simply wasn’t a suitable fit with the site content.

    I believe one of the biggest takeaways from the article above is “Facebook looks at the fan to engagement ratio when evaluating your page.” This is something which will be impacted greatly if you choose to go down the route of buying untargetted likes to a page.I’ve documented my experience here but feel free to remove the link if it is seen as spam or self promotion: http://www.simpleseotips.com/protecting-your-brand-before-you-launch-a-new-business/

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Sounds like there’s some opportunity at Fiverr to create likes with demographically appropriate profile photos! ;)

    I read your post and my takeaway was “I can’t stress the importance of brand protection for new websites or businesses.”

    Thanks for contributing.

  • http://twitter.com/simpleseotips simpleseotips

    I certainly wouldn’t doubt the suitabilty of such “likes” to certain demographically targeted sites.

    As for your key takeaway on my post, it might be too much coffee in the system but is your response (re: takeaway) a dig at the content or the (now fixed) typo?

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    No, my takeaway was sincere!

  • http://twitter.com/simpleseotips simpleseotips

    My apologies. There was a bad typo in my post:
    “I can’t stress” versus “I can’t stress… enough” hold two very different connotations ;)
    Ironically your comment helped me notice and address it so thanks for that.

    I’m browsing through lots of articles on your site at the moment. Some really interesting and valuable information!

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I never recommend buying Likes.  Sure, it may make it look like you’re popular to those that aren’t savvy enough to figure out what you’re doing, but Facebook marketing is about engagement.  These fake Likes, which are probably not even coming from real people, will never turn into anything more.  As you mentioned, Facebook is smart, I wouldn’t be surprised if they started handing out penalties for such behavior. 

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Nick, that would be my concern, too. Just because you’re “getting away with it” now doesn’t mean you won’t be busted later. Facebook could have it’s own “Panda” update that penalizes pages with a high percentage of likes from questionable accounts.

  • http://www.chucklasker.com Chuck Lasker

    It’s exactly the same thing as the content farm back links people paid for to get higher Google rankings. It worked, for a time, then Panda killed that off, and many many sites that took part in that black hat technique got pushed WAY down in the rankings. It’s simple, really. If you buy Likes, you’re trying to scam the system, so you’re a bad person. This WILL come back on you. Social media success is about transparency.

  • http://twitter.com/GlutenFreeAZ Jessica Fielding

    Paying for likes is a waste of money in my book. I would rather have local, quality fans that are engaged with my brand in my local market that 15,000 fake fans in Indonesia. You’re better off paying for facebook ads to target fans that will be interested in your product or service than waste money buying fake fans.

  • frwiends + chosen phrase

    Never want to buy fans or followers. I think its a expression of your compressed mind. 

  • http://www.seopositiveltd.co.uk/link-building.php Sarah

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  • RAD

    The people of the world need to realize that the internet is one of advertisings strongest platforms and is quickly rising. If more people see your stuff, the better it is for you. The whole process has revolutionized the ad industry and Facebook kind of has a monopoly. Ultimately your gain is determined in the longevity of your product and by “liking” a page it does nothing more than increase exposure. It is then left up to the consumer if they want to do business with you. It does however dilute the credibility because it is less sincere and may not be an accurate representation of your popularity. But when did Facebook become ethical?  Why are likes made available in the first place? You don’t see CBS putting the viewing number on the top of the screen! I used to tell the other kids that beat the shit out of me in high school that my girlfriend went to another school and would show them a cut out of a model in a magazine, in hopes they would think I was cool and thus administer a less severe  beating. In a world where popularity is everything and ethics died with the start of progressive movement, take a short cut if it is made available because advertising is ALL FAKE. 

  • Luca Millan

    what i know that people get paid for facbook likes since i paid to get likes.

    two month ago, i created facebook page and now i have more than 15,600 likes. sure nothing for free, I paid 1 USD for each 40 likes on average of 250 like per day through Web Identity 4 Social Promotion.

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