Is it ever OK to buy Social Media likes for your business?

  • Is it ever OK to buy Social Media likes for your business?

    The Facebook ‘Like' and the Twitter follower have created a universe of online marketing opportunities for businesses.

    These popularity-generating tools help gain exposure among other social media users and, in theory, increase sales of products and services.  Inevitably, an industry has been created in selling Facebook likes and Twitter followers to businesses who can't earn them quickly enough through real popularity.

    Can this ever be justified and is it legal?

    A social media following is a powerful force. Genuinely earned, it is an endorsement and an engagement with a relevant audience of potential customers and clients.  The viral nature of social media means that the reach of a single like, particularly from a well-connected person, can extend to many thousands.

    Buying social media followers is a shady, back-alley activity and yet many businesses are tempted and many providers who use automated botnets can be found on Google and other classified services. Google explicitly bans website owners from paying for backlinks.  Facebook and Twitter don't seem to mention it in their terms and conditions, but common sense says they are not going to like it and you risk your account being suspended if you are found out.

    How do these botnets work?

    Many wonder at Facebook & Twitter's global membership. A significant proportion of the accounts could be fake.

    Back-alley businesses run by Internet low-lifes trade in Facebook and Twitter accounts on a large scale. They get poor people in developing countries (Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines, in particular) to create thousands of accounts, complete with pictures and posts. They even get these accounts phone-verified.  Black hat marketing firms buy these accounts for a few cents each and then use software to create likes or follows to their clients' accounts by the thousand.  Some get the same disadvantaged people who created the accounts to do the following manually.

    Should you do it?

    The ethical question apart (which is often enough to deter most people), the debate on how well buying social media followers works is an ongoing one. A large Facebook fan base or Twitter following can look impressive and encourage genuine people to it because it appears to be popular and established.

    Businesses are often tempted to try it out because it is quick and relatively cheap to do so.  A £100 investment could buy you thousands of fans and followers and send your perceived popularity soaring overnight.

    The significant risk, however, beyond the fact that these followers are useless to your business in their own right, is that Facebook or Twitter could shut your account down, or perhaps more likely shut the accounts of your spurious followers down, meaning that your popularity drops and your investment is lost overnight.

    For real popularity, you need real Likes. For a startup business, it could be tempting to have thousands of Fans and Likes and it might even give you a short-term boost. This is hardly meaningful as a long-term strategy, though. At some point, your real fans will notice that the bulk of your following is strangely quiet. If they discover what you've done, it could ruin your reputation with them.  Concentrate on winning real followers - you'll be glad you did in the end.

    For advice on how to establish and build your business' presence in social media without resorting to black hat tactics, please contact us.

    For the record, The Marketing Eye has never purchased social media followers and never will. Our Facebook and Twitter following has been generated through regular posting of relevant content since 2009.

Related articles

  • Read More

    A third of B2B marketers are tracking sales through social

    For an industry whose origins and continuing existence rely heavily on the accurate analysis of statistics, the insurance sector would do well to note the seismic shift taking place in modern...

  • Read More

    Promoting video content on social media

    So, your business has splashed out on a big, beautiful high quality piece of video content, you are going to want to stretch it as far as it will go, right? Then don’t do what everyone else does...

  • Read More

    Four Facebook ad campaigns you should be running to attract and retain investors

    With around one-fifth of the world’s population on Facebook, you would think generating brand awareness and leads from it would be a piece of cake. The reality is less straight forward. With a...

  • Read More

    7 characteristics of social media implementation in B2B marketing

    If you look for evidence of the potential benefits to B2B organisations of social media, you will see both lead generation, as well as brand reinforcement are being addressed to great advantage....

  • Read More

    Twitter layoffs - lessons for FinTech

    Twitter has been buzzing over the last couple of days with news of layoffs at, ironically, Twitter....

  • Read More

    Facebook will suppress clickbait stories – but what does it mean?

    A few weeks ago, Facebook decided to intensify its crackdown on ‘clickbait’ news that appears on the social network. These clickbait articles have intriguing headlines suggesting there is more to...

  • Read More

    What is the real role of social media in business?

    Most businesses have some sort of social media presence, whether it be an all-singing, all-dancing, regularly updated Facebook page, or a mothballed and slightly dusty-looking LinkedIn account. These...

  • Read More

    Do businesses need to fear Facebook's 'dislike' button?

    Facebook users have been requesting a ’dislike’ button for several years now, even creating pages and petitions in the hope of attracting Mark Zuckerberg’s attention. Now it seems their wishes...

  • Read More

    How to drive leads through sponsored LinkedIn updates

    LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for generating leads. It might not have the same number of users as Facebook and Twitter, but for bringing in leads, it’s one of the best, especially for B2B....

  • Read More

    How to WIN on Twitter in 2015 and beyond – the pull no punches edition

    This isn’t going to be another airy-fairy blog post telling you politely what your business should be doing on Twitter. In this blog post, I will be telling you what you need to do on Twitter… to...

Take the first step

To find out more about how we can help you grow faster, please get in touch. We'd like to hear from you.  Or try our instant marketing healthcheck, it's free!

Quick Contact

Quick contact


Contact us

T 01825 765617


Our offices

Full details of our offices in London and Uckfield more

Request a call