Digital marketing, more specifically content marketing, has become an increasingly convoluted and complex task in recent months, in large part because of Google’s Penguin update and Facebook’s implementation of Graph Search. With Google and Facebook placing more emphasis on content and it’s perceived value to their users, consumers are now starting to pay more attention to metrics such as likes, shares, comments, plays, etc before making buying decisions. As a result, many businesses have turned to some rather shady methods to boost their numbers and appear more popular or authoritative than they actually are. With all this in mind, we looked into the “fake likes” dilemma and found this interesting article and video on the Guardian.
The video documents the process of buying fake likes, and investigates just how businesses are growing their “fan base” by thousands of people in just a matter of hours. Of course, to unsuspecting consumers, larger Facebook numbers appear as a legitimate measurement of a company’s popularity, and often influence their buying decisions. But despite the fact that Facebook sales are the reasons that brands have to maintain a strong Facebook presence, fake likes may actually be detrimental to their company in the long run.
The reason why fake likes aren’t necessarily a positive thing for brands is, although their Facebook “Likes” look more impressive, the fact of the matter is that none of those “people” are actually engaging with the company or making purchases. And, with any little bit of research, consumers can easily spot a page with fake likes.
But according to the Guardian’s research, “the importance of likes is considerable with consumers: 31% will check ratings and reviews, including likes and Twitter followers, before they choose to buy something, research suggests. That means click farms could play a significant role in potentially misleading consumers.”
With statistics pointing to the importance of online metrics, it’s no surprise that brands are anxious to pad their social statistics by using services such as the click farms mentioned in the Guardian’s piece. But with this trend becoming more pervasive throughout the social landscape, it begs the question, are Facebook Likes a relevant and wholesome indication of a brands popularity, or is it all just smoke and mirrors?
Have you seen brands engage in building their page with fake likes? Do you think social metrics are an accurate indication of a company’s popularity or authority? Let us know what you think in the comments below.