These days, I have been doing some thinking on the topic of buying facebook likes.
At the moment in Nigeria, fashion and clothing companies are experiencing a boom. Despite living outside of Nigeria, I have been keeping track of this exciting growth (of which I am a part!), and such is how I came to see that an accessories company that had less than 100 likes a week earlier now had close to 1500, and that another bespoke clothing company had grown from a bit over 300 likes to 3500+ in a few days. I spent some time on their walls and was greeted with comments like “mimepandi yenje guani hyo yenje gold*”. In case you thought that’s written in a Nigerian language, it isn’t. Also the prominence of Asian names in the likes (it is possible to buy likes for wall posts too, to keep up the impression of facebook buzz/activity/”talking about this” worthy of 3500+ likes) was interesting for a company operating on a local scale and providing goods that are of no particular interest to people of South Asian heritage. (I get the occasional Indian like because Minku means something like pretty boy in Hindi, something my Indian friends recently revealed when I wondered about this to them.)
*I jumbled the letters and words of the original post around because leaving it as it was made it too easy to identify the company and the goal of this post is to discuss a topic of consideration to many business owners, not for call-outs…
Wow. I put Minku on facebook over two years ago and all I have to show for it is 320+ likes. I’m usually not one to compare but clients and potential business partners can consider such things in trying to see who should get their hard-earned time or money, so this was something I had to at least consider too. I have kept the fb page active with photos and content, kept a blog, done some giveaways, provided high-google-ranking leatherwork-relevant content, collaborated with some bloggers, in other words, tried to grow our social media presence organically. And I have 320. It’s hard not to feel a hit. I googled “buy facebook likes”.
Of course even there, there was some segregation. The cheapest likes, with high chances of resulting in embarassing comments like the aforementioned “mimepandi yenje guani hyo yenje gold”, would set you back about $40 for 5000. Spend ten times that per like, and you’ll get likes from “the UK, Germany, the US, Australia…” I read a review about different like-buying sites and a few hours later, an order for 500 “higher-end” likes was underway, to be processed in 72 hours.
But I couldn’t sleep. As Danny Devito’s character says in the 80s movie ‘Twins’, I’ve got this disease called a conscience.
Not that people who buy and keep likes don’t have a conscience, as this is a particularly tough call and many of the biggest companies with millions of likes have (albeit ‘cleaner’, more legit or more disconnected-from-company-creative) ways of buying likes, but still. Two days later, I googled “buy facebook likes conscience”. I read a few posts. I emailed the company, I still had time. I explained to them to please cancel my order. They responded that they couldn’t, as they had started working on it. A day later, I emailed. “Cancel anyway, please. You can keep the payment I’ve made.”
I feel good. Last year I closed my personal facebook account and someone took my facebook identity, using the email address associated with the closed account. They had put in mobile phone security too, and quickly blocked or shut down the account when they noticed attempts to authenticate/reactivate on my end. I am sure that avatar of me is online somewhere, liking people’s companies and facebook pages at 2 cents per like, whether or not I would approve of the companies if I knew. I hope they at least had the decency to change my name. Do unto others…
When one buys facebook likes, one is buying likes from inactive accounts. When the buyer requests comments on their wall posts, those comments are automatically generated, often a meaningless jumble, and potentially embarrassing to the company’s owner(s).
If I ever get a marketing person, one of the first things they will tell me is to buy facebook likes or twitter follows. I know because my former roommate was a marketing person and he explained to me that most of their company’s 5000 likes were bought, and it had to be done otherwise businesses you approach would not take you seriously.
Valid point, unfortunately.
I find it’s more important to me that I take me seriously, and if I do things like building a business on smoke and mirrors, it would suck a bit for my self-taking-seriously efforts.
So I already know what I would tell this hypothetical marketing person. “No, thanks.” Maybe 5 years from now, I would have 800 likes while 36,000 is the industry average. But I hope my 800 will be people I can keep relating with, sharing ideas of growth for Minku with, and receiving feedback from that is more beneficial to me than “mimepandi yenje guani hyo yenje gold.”
And I know my conscience will leave me to sleep at night.
Other ways to evaluate a company’s seriousness or authenticity besides the number of social-media follows:
- See if they have a blog or generate some content. Evaluate its quality and see if its content resonates with you.
- If they have some publicly-listed clients, see what they are saying about the products and level of service.
- See if you like their non-text content: the pictures, links, etc that they share on their social media. If it seems there is a living, breathing person behind the content, and you relate to their story, then that could be the authentication you need.
- Search for the company and see what their general internet presence is like. Has their CEO done some interviews? Do you like the tone and message? Have magazines or bloggers done reviews on their product or service?
- Drop them a message. See if/how they answer.
Thank you for reading,