Digital experts have slammed reports that local firms are buying Facebook ‘likes’ for company pages, and criticised the perceived commercial value of likes.
Buying services for likes, where a company adds fake fans to a company website page, are on the increase.
Like buying services can even be found on fiverr.com, the website that allows customers to ‘hire people to do things for $5’.
Facebook, the world’s most popular social media website with 845 million users, represents a goldmine for strategic marketers, but simply buying likes is a fruitless exercise that could negatively affect company strategy, according to experts.
“The value of a Facebook like is zero. It’s like telling someone to go and stand in a room and do nothing, so that’s exactly what you achieve – nothing,” said Alexander McNabb, director, Spot On PR.
“Likes are a debased currency, even if you achieve a million likes you haven’t achieved anything because likes are a very small part of the equation.”
McNabb added that the value of Facebook as a marketing tool lies in its interactive and community-building properties.
“It might be possible that a consumer is impressed by the number of likes a company has on a page, but it won’t last very long. Using likes as a metric when there are so many sophisticated web analytics available is insanity – it’s like using a blunderbuss.”
James Reynolds, director of digital consultancy, Incredible Incorporated, also stressed the importance of utilising engagement techniques and dismissed the practice of buying likes.
“A lot of individuals and companies are known to buy likes, but it’s actually doing them harm – what it does is dilute your engagement potential. It’s much better to have a tight knit group of passionate, engaged followers, than simple likes,” he said.
“To monetise likes, you need to move users from Facebook to somewhere else. Facebook is a traffic channel, it’s where your audience are, and then you can use other calls to action such as telephone numbers,” he added.
Reynolds explained that local firms must first build trust with customers and provide valuable content, in exchange for future business.
McNabb added: “A like is not a customer commitment in any way – emotional, financial or physical.”