Traditionally, this has been a raging debate between marketers from the ‘power play’ school of thought and the purists. The truth is, whether you’re choosing to buy Facebook like depends entirely upon circumstance and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

To provide a little background to this conundrum, there are some factors to consider.

1. Bought likes are cheap (well within the budget of any business)

2. The accounts may not be real, active accounts, so these likes will reduce over time as Facebook realizes they are fake accounts and shuts them down. (There are, however, companies such as Boostlikes which say that their ‘likes’ are all real people.)

3. At best, it is obvious, to anyone who knows what they’re looking for, that you have bought likes

4. Many brands, including some of the largest in the world, have bought likes – you’re in good company either way

So what are the benefits of buying likes for your Facebook page?

What people are trying to achieve through buying likes boils down to one thing – increasing brand awareness. Even though the account’s ‘likes’ have been bought, the sheer number of likes on a page is indicative of a number of factors of the business. If visitors to the page, whether directed by ads or friends, fail to be convinced that the likes are bought, they will perceive the following:

– Brand credibility

– You have high levels of brand awareness and loyalty

– Your page posts interesting content (enough for people to want to see your stuff on their timeline)

– As a large brand, who people will expect to have large fan numbers, buying likes when your page starts up may prove to future audiences that your page is the real deal.

Overall, people stumbling across your page are more likely to ‘like’ it themselves, or see you as a trusted brand. If you’re offering something they want, they might even pay your site a visit.

What are the drawbacks of buying likes?

– Bought likes are just numbers – these people (not always people) are not interested in your brand so do not regard any of them as in your target audience

– It is quite easy to work out the likes are bought. Do they look like the people who would be interested in your products or services? Why does the number of people ‘talking about this’ match the number of people that have liked the page (for a week or so) and then drop to next to nothing in the weeks thereafter.

– If people work out that they are bought, how does this make your business look? Will people care? Will people think this is the only way your business can make itself look professional or popular? The fact is that you could achieve almost the exact opposite of the ‘benefits of buying likes’ because people may feel that they cannot be achieved on merit alone!

Under what circumstances would buying likes be a good idea?

Big brands are better at getting away with it. The numbers and diversity of followers are can easily be assumed as genuine. Also, it’s not the end of the world if people realise that they’re bought – they’ve got the budget and it would be embarrassing if it looked like no one liked the brand.

You’re posting good, engaging, Facebook content but it looks like no one cares, at all. Having a base number of likes can make you look more appealing if someone finds you page.

Consider your target audience. If these people are likely to be coming across your page because they are on Facebook, and they are less likely to work out that your likes have bee bought, there is better risk-reward ratios for you.

If you’re running a targeted Facebook ad campaign. Your target audience are likely to be seeing your page – what is going to make them click like? Also, you will get some genuine likes from your campaign so not all of your fans will be bought and look bought.

If you’ve already built up a good fan base, buying likes (no more than your total ‘real’ likes!), can rapidly increase fan numbers without looking too suspicious or obvious. Reducing the risk of people realizing you’ve bought likes but effectively doubling how large your engaged online audience is.

Would you buy ‘likes’? Have you done it already? Let us know!