We recently came across an instance where a Facebook page we were tracking had an amazing increase in likes. I’m talking thousands of likes in a short period of time.
That’s kind of unheard of unless you’re the Biebs, or the latest and greatest from [insert reality show here].
Upon further investigation, it became fairly apparent that many of these likes were not organic but were, in fact, paid likes.
And that doesn’t mean bribing people to like your page. It means that you can go out and purchase likes, which in turn will cause bots or fake accounts to like your page through some handy scripting. The likes are cheap and pretty immediate. Just Google "buy facebook likes" and you’ll see that growing a Facebook fan page (at least regarding the number of likes) is pretty easy. Like these guys, pictured right.
Sounds like a pretty slick and cheap way to buy your way to popularity, right? Well, no. Those fake likes are accounts that will never interact with your page or posts, which can hurt you in the long run.
Enter Edgerank, Facebook’s algorithm of what will and won’t appear in a user’s newsfeed. It wants to serve up the most relevant content to each user, and thus uses an algorithm based on three things: affinity, weight, and time decay.
- Affinity: If a user has interacted with a post in the past, either by commenting on it or liking it, a future post from that page is more likely to show up in their feed.
- Weight: The type of post is also influential. Videos and photos are way more likely to appear.
- Time decay: Facebook, like produce sections and rappers, wants to keep things fresh. The older the post, the less likely it will appear in your feed.
Now let’s bring it all together. Due to Facebook’s algorithm, a page with a majority of bought likes will have a lower Edgerank score. This will impact every page fan, not just the fake ones. Thus, the chance of your content appearing in your "real fans'" newsfeed drops dramatically due to all the bogus ones dragging things down.
Bottom line: There’s not a shortcut for growing your fan base on Facebook. Taking the time to create engaging content is the best way to increase likes and, ultimately, create an engaged fan base of brand evangelists.