£299 how not to increase

Today I had one of those “laugh-out-loud” emails forwarded to me by our Marketing Manager, Michelle Hill. I think she may have heard me let out a snort from the other end of our office, which is practically in a different room! The email in question was offering an “Urgent Business Proposal” with the following for the reduced sum of £299:

  • 500 Facebook Likes
  • 500 Twitter Followers
  • 500 LinkedIn Contacts
  • 500 Google +1’s
  • 500 YouTube Views
  • 500 Pinterest Pins

If you are new to social media, this may seem like an ideal way to start your social media campaign. A quick boost in numbers, surely that will look good? People follow the crowd right? Let me break down why the offering above is wrong on so many levels.

In theory, you risk being banned

The overall reason for not buying such a package is that, if any of the social networks start monitoring how quickly you start amassing (often fake) followers and the type of likes you are getting, they might decide to start banning and/or penalising pages that make such purchases. So far Facebook has simply removed fake Likes from Pages, but all that could change as anyone who has been hit by a search engine penalty can attest to.

If I were Facebook, or any other social network, I would no doubt be looking at ways to decipher whether a page was taking part in fake practices and penalise them accordingly. This could mean the page being banned or an EdgeRank penalty being imposed so their updates would not have as much reach, if any at all.

What are 500 YouTube views?

Oh come on! 500 YouTube views, not even subscribers? 500 YouTube views from 500 people who are actively engaged with your brand would be acceptable but this reeks of automated junk views which unfortunately hold no value for your brand.

You could buy all of this for $30 on Fiverr

All of the offerings in the email can be bought on Fiverr for $5 each, meaning a total of $30 spent. Many people offer more than just 500 Likes, etc. too. In theory you would get more ‘value for your money’ by sourcing the Fiverr gigs yourself, which is probably where the supplier in the email is buying them anyway.

how not to increase your facebook likes

This particular gig is still selling well and I’m surprised Facebook hasn’t tried issuing a cease and desist to Fiverr about listing gigs that could potentially be harming its site.

$30 = £19.63, leaving you with £279.37 in the budget. What could you do with £279.37?

This could contribute towards content being written for your website, which incidentally you can share on your social media channels to grow your audience organically. Followers gained in this way actually want to hear what you have to say and are a way more likely to turn into leads than bought ones. You’ll find it much easier justifying this spend than the £299 wasted on fake Facebook likes.

No strategy – no authenticity

It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, when a company promises X amount of followers/likes without a strategy, you know that it has no longevity. How does a company promise to deliver a genuine audience from six social networks for less than £300 with no strong strategy? It is genuinely impossible.

You can’t fake social media

One of the first things I look for when analysing a new account to follow is the engagement levels. Are they talking to people? The follower count is secondary. Fake followers or the account following a high number of people (for them to then follow them back) is a prime example of why I don’t consider it as a factor initially. Sure I look at it, but my decision to follow/like/circle is based on the following factors, listed in order of importance:

  • Engagement levels
  • Type of content being shared
  • Frequency of updates

You can’t fake those measurements, and if you can then please send me a message so I can retire to a hot sunny country with you! Actually, no don’t bother. I enjoy talking to real people on social networks, sharing fresh new relevant content, retweeting other people and not faking it. You can bet that using social media this way is more profitable than spending £299 on 6 x 500 vanity metrics.

I can say that not faking it means Twitter ranks me (@iLoveTrance) as the top Twitter account about the music genre “trance music”, beating world class DJs and record labels in a multi-million dollar industry where DJs fly around the world playing to crowds of 1000s of people. Did I have to revert to buying followers to make that happen? No, and I’m sure the rewards would be even greater for any company that takes a similar approach.

Read more: Six Reasons No One On Twitter Is Following You Back