Buying Facebook Friends is a pointless exercise

Every new technology revolution has “trend cowboys”.

They’re the fast buck merchants who take advantage of a market’s naivety of a new technology and ride out of town faster than you can say “hypercolour t-shirt”.

And now they’re taking businesses using Facebook for a ride.

As reported recently in a variety of media, you can now buy tens of thousands of Facebook “Likers” (Friends if you have a personal page) for what amounts to petty cash – usually from service providers in poorer countries than ours.

Wow, what a great way to look impressive to your Facebook visitors you might think.

But think again.

A metric without merit

Really, what does your number of Facebook Likes mean?

Does it provide a free channel to promote your business to your Likers? Yes, it does, but this benefit does not apply to the bought Likers, as they will not be in the market for your product/service.

Do they mean you operate a great business? Well, no. Do they mean you provide outstanding service? Again, negative. And, cutting to business fundamentals, do they mean you are handsomely profitable? Not at all.

It’s a bit reminiscent of the modus operandi of TV talent shows that have hit our screens in the last decade. Given that the winner is determined by the number of votes they score has little to do with musical talent. Their talent lies in their ability to network, either socially or otherwise, to attract votes.

Business is not a popularity contest

Similarly, the number of Facebook likes you have simply indicates how many people you’ve persuaded – by fair means or foul – to click on your little thumbs up icon.

Of course this reality flies in the face of the perception – that any business with that many Likes must be doing something right.

But the news of this scam puts paid to that theory. In fact, the opposite can now be argued. If your business appears to have an inordinate amount of Likes, chances are that you’ve bought them.

So, as much as it’s tempting to give your modest Likes a kick along in this way, resist!

Grow naturally and legitimately

Instead use the bevy of legitimate tools you literally have at your fingertips to grow your Likes naturally. Tools like your website, competitions, regular posting, email, promoting your page within your advertising, etc, etc.

Better still, offer such a great product or service that your customers recruit your Likes for you.

In turn that will impact on that more vital statistic – your bottom line.

In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond. www.theeteam.com.au

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