With social media becoming such a huge part of any new business’s marketing plans right now, it’s tempting to give into services that allow you to buy Facebook fans and even Twitter followers. These services are popping up everywhere, promising to give you a thousand Facebook fans for the low price of $500, or whatever they happen to charge.
The problem, though, is that social media is truly social in nature, which means that authenticity is key. Businesses who decide to take a shortcut and buy Facebook fans are skipping the social aspect of social media and expecting it to work for them, anyway. It won’t work, though! Here are just a few reasons, why:
You aren’t reaching your target market
Though Facebook fan buying services will claim to give you fans from a target market, they rarely follow through on these promises. The business Southwest Ecommerce decided to try a Facebook fan buying experience just to see what happened, and their review notes that they didn’t even get Facebook fans from the right country, let alone the right target demographic! If you’re looking for a very specific target market through your Facebook page, you’ll get there by running the right kind of marketing that’s tailored to the fans you want, not by paying another business to shovel in some new fans for you.
Your real fans will be able to tell
One of the other issues with buying Facebook fans is that it can be fairly obvious if your new “fans” are really just made up Facebook profiles. For instance, Small Business SEM, shows a screen shot of a business’s Facebook widget. The business has obviously purchased fans, since the profile pictures of several of the fans are the exact same photo! While not everyone notices details like these, some of your real or potential fans will, and this can downgrade your business’s credibility in their eyes.
You could get fans and then lose them
Some Facebook fan buying services will guarantee you a certain number of Likes within a certain time period, but they don’t make guarantees for how long those fans will stick around. Even if the business actually meets the promised quota within the promised time frame, you may lose many of those fans just weeks or months later. Real people who are paid to be Facebook fans are likely to “Unlike” your page because they’re tired of getting updates from you on their news feed.
The fans you buy won’t interact
The main point of a Facebook page for your business isn’t actually to just have a bunch of fans sitting there – it’s to encourage interaction among your fans and between your fans and your business. Facebook fans that you buy are likely to either be completely silent or to write irrelevant comments on your page, which is just kind of annoying. If you want fans who will really interact with one another and your business, you need to earn them the hard way – through social media marketing.
It’s not that difficult to get real Facebook friends for free
Let’s say you’re starting out your small business and want to begin using social media marketing to get things going. So you use one of your small business credit cards to charge the fee for the Facebook fan buying service. You pay $500 on your credit card, and get a thousand fans within a few weeks. Everything seems great, but then you don’t get any interaction on your page or start dropping fans quickly after a few months. Meanwhile, your business isn’t taking off quickly, so you’re still paying off that credit card charge. In the long run, you end up with a bunch of debt and not many good Facebook interactions with your fans.
If you really want to get Facebook fans, it’s not that difficult to get them the old-fashioned way. Start with your friends and family members. Ask them to like your page and post some comments. If you make it a point to stay active on Facebook, the likes will keep coming. It may take some time, but in the long run, you’ll get more fans without spending money.
When buying Facebook fans might be okay
Some businesses do advocate for buying Facebook fans at the very outset of your Facebook page. These businesses note that there’s something in human psychology that makes us want to jump on a big old bandwagon. If five people like your page, new visitors are less likely to do so just because it doesn’t seem very popular. (They won’t think about the fact that your page is all of six hours old!) But if a thousand people like your page, it will seem cool to like it, as well.
So, if you’re just starting out, maybe you want to consider buying Facebook fans from a reputable service that can give you fans in your general geographic area. However, it’s best to do this in cash if at all possible, or to have a solid plan for paying off a business credit card charge if you decide to charge it. You’ll probably end up paying upwards of $1 a fan, so this can get quite expensive!
With about 73% of Americans and a huge portion of individuals from other countries on Facebook, according to comScore, you can build your Facebook fan page the right way. Users are spending more time than ever on Facebook, so putting together a solid social media marketing plan that lets you reach potential customers directly is much more effective than buying Facebook fans for your business page.
Daniela Baker is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey, where she helps entrepreneurs compare small business credit card deals.