Buying Fake Friends Can Spell Social Media Disaster
The Black Market of Social Media Emerges
As we’ve said many times before, social media isn’t something that brands can afford to ignore any longer. It’s here to stay, and the number of social sites grows every day. In order to keep up with the other brands around them, some have begun to buy into an illicit market that has sprung up to service the need for more likes, shares, fans, and followers.
The people offering these services will not tell you that there is a downside; instead they will tell you about all of the benefits that come from having more fans and followers, and how increased engagement numbers can do wonders for your brand’s social presence.
Here are a few of the consequences of buying into this social black market:
- Loss of legitimate engagement activity – No one really likes a cheater, and that is what a brand that buys fake engagement is. If legitimate followers of your brand realize what you’ve been up to they might abandon your web presence and take both their engagement and their business with them when they go.
- Loss of your investment – Sometimes when a social channel gets wind of your under-the-table activity they just take care of the issue without ever getting you involved directly. One day you could log on and those thousands of likes or fans you had just yesterday could be gone. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
The truth of the matter is that there is no real benefit in having thousands of fake fans / followers, or a lot of fake likes. How does any of this turn a profit for your business? One of the largest reasons businesses invest so much time and money into social media is because it is a way to reach and engage with real people who may then be persuaded to do business with that brand. How many of the fake profiles out there that are used to generate this paid-for activity do you think actually do business with the brands they are liking and following?
It is the true engagement from real people that makes the social media experience worthwhile for businesses. Having steady (if low-key) activity on your page is worth more than having thousands of followers but almost nothing to show for it in terms of activity on your page.
The idea behind social media is that the power and influence of one individual (or brand) comes from the people behind them. This same idea can be applied to almost any other form of marketing, both online and in traditional media. If someone visits one of your social profiles for the first time and sees that your fans are actively engaging with your brand they are more likely to join in and participate as well.