Why Buying Facebook ‘Likes’ is a Bad Move

You might have come across some services that offer to provide you with hundreds or even thousands of Facebook ‘Likes’, and for anyone new to Facebook with just a handful of fans, this can seem like a very tempting offer.


Firstly though, you need to stop and ask yourself – why do you want to buy likes? Sure, it’s nice to look popular, but what good will looking popular really achieve? The truth is, nothing at all.

The real value of Facebook comes from genuine fans. These are the people that will be past/existing customers and people who largely, have an actual interest in your brand and what you have to say. They are effectively, receptive sales leads and as such, it is generally worthwhile investing your time into engaging with them as they are far more likely to convert into customers or purchase from you again.

Only genuine fans have a real intrinsic value to your business

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The low down is, buy likes and your fans won’t have any genuine interest in your brand and certainty won’t be receptive to anything you do; in which case they are of little or no real value to you. It makes much more sense to build communities organically which is always our preferred approach. Sure, this takes a little longer to achieve, but it will result in a much higher quality of fan who will have real intrinsic value for your business.

Why buying Facebook fans is a bad move

  • Your new ‘fans’ will have no interest in your business or your messages – why spend your time marketing yourself to none-prospects?
  • Buying fans is often very obvious – a competitor or customer can easily spot a sudden explosion in the size of your community and could very publicly question this, stripping you off the trust you will have inspired in your real fans.
  • Buying a community is often a question of ethics and trust and won’t do your reputation any favours.
  • Growing a community of fake fans will do little for your business; it’s all about engagement and fake fans won’t engage with you.
  • Buying fans will make you look like an amateur, signalling to the competition that you don’t know what you are doing.

If you come across a service selling you Facebook likes or an agency promising you a ready made community or a guaranteed number of fans, you should be on your guard and be aware that organic growth is the only approach guaranteed to provide you with real, sustainable benefits.

I’ve fond few examples of businesses that have bought likes and actually benefited; for example, sometimes ‘getting the ball rolling’ on a new community may be helped by the number of fans you have, the thinking being that a busy community is more appealing than a small one; I disagree however.  If your Facebook wall is full of interesting content and lots of interaction, then regardless of that community consisting of 100 or 10,000 people, it’s going to be appealing and will grow.

My advice?  Focus on growing your community organically by publishing great content and being generally engaging.  Not only will you enjoy steady and sustained growth, but you’ll have a community of actual fans who do care about what you have to say and most importantly, are willing to listen.

Discuss This Article

Comments: 5

  • Frank says:

    Hi Shell, Great article! I have a mixed view when it comes to this topic. Some companies should not buy Facebook likes and some should. The benefits of buying Facebook likes would be for companies that our in a start up phase and looking to add that social appeal to their company, this can work wonders for new companies, as people tend to gravitate to whats popular and it builds a loyal fan base over time. Remember that companies our not going to just buy Facebook likes and stop their marketing efforts their; they will be doing what they can to drive more people to that page once they have already bought the likes. I work for a social media marketing company http://www.hearme.co and we have provided numerous companies with said service, they have all been successful in their launches and have seen an overwhelming growth to their fan numbers on Facebook. I know if a new company solicited me to come check out their page and they only had 100 likes, I might not pay as much attention to their page compared to lets say 5,000 likes or so, it would get me curious as to why they have 5,000 likes and I would want to like the page and find out. That being said their is a down side to buying likes as you clearly stated, and I agree with you completely, in my opinion companies that have started marketing themselves and have a somewhat loyal customer fan base should never buy Facebook fans in big numbers they will just look foolish. Ideally you will just want to use this tactic to help with the initial launching of your company and do not continue to buy more and more likes. Also great content is key! Again your article is great, you touch on some very good points. This was just my two cents.

    Frank Rothman

    • Shell says:

      Hi Frank, thanks for the feedback!

      If a client simply wants their community to appear like it has a lot of likes, then buying them will of course achieve that. I also agree with you that a community that looks busy may be more appealing, however, if I visit a page, it doesn’t matter how many other people are following it, if there is nothing interesting on the page or that last post was a month ago, I won’t join it.

      My belief is that if you have 1,000 bought fans, odds are a tiny number, if any, are going to have an interest in the brand and as a result will have no desire to engage. If you build 1,000 fans organically however, the vast majority are going to have an interest in the brand and be willing to engage.

      I’ve worked with lots of companies who have started with communities of zero and building momento takes time for sure! I believe that effort pays off however and makes organically built communities more valuable; that is to say, more members of that community will be influenced by marketing messaging.

      Great to hear your comments on the matter, thanks.

  • Frank says:

    I totally agree with you on the fact that anybody wanting to retain loyal fans and experience true social sharing of their page; should 100% have interesting and captivating content, we advise all of our clients on just that! Thank you for your reply I really enjoyed this post, it is really informative for people in the business community. One more thing I would like to touch on about buying Facebook likes with our company is the majority of our clients are in the music business, so things tend to differ with the whole aspect of appearing to have more fans. I should have made that clear in my original comment.

  • Talen says:

    Another problem with buying facebook or twitter followers is that the majority are dummy or fake accounts that never have any activity and within 3 months of following you they un-follow you. Target the people you want to follow and do it manually because in the long run this is what works best

  • Shell Robshaw-Bryan says:

    It should also be added that this is the kind of fakery that Google warns against. It will actively penalise websites found to be artificially manipulating followers and fan numbers, so in terms of SEO, it’s dumb thing to do.

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