Posts. Likes. Ads. Shares. Like SEO, social media marketing combines the art of influence with the science of views, conversions and other statistics. If you want a report on your social media mentions and activity, various tools and businesses can help you organize and interpret your data so you can make educated adjustments to your plan. Social media marketing is a process.
And where there’s a process, somebody wants a shortcut – even when the shortcut is not a legitimate path. (Complete the following quote: “If it sounds too good to be true, then…”)
Take “click farms” and other sources of “fake likes.” Although having a higher number of likes may suggest better business credibility at a glance to a visitor who lands on a page, fake likes reduce the level of engagement. In turn, engagement affects delivery of legitimate information about a page, such as ads. The practice of buying likes is forbidden by Facebook, and the social media giant watches for signs of fraud so it can take action, such as deleting fakes.
As I was digging into a client’s past Facebook advertising results, some colleagues were boosting posts from their business pages with happy results while a couple were puzzled. One said she saw an increase in likes, then diminishing engagement. Another said a boosted post was getting a lot of overseas interest. (I wondered how the page administrator outlined the target audience in that case.) I haven’t seen Page Insights or Ad Manager data related to either of their marketing campaigns, but one theory for a sudden increase in likes without engagement was outlined by Derek Mueller of Veritasium: Click farms may like pages randomly in an attempt to avoid detection.
If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of likes on your Facebook page, you can remove those likes by hand.
Click farms and fake profiles will exist as long as someone is ready to break the rules and buy their wares, but don’t let a few bad drivers or obstacles run you off the road. Whether you’re using Facebook and/or another social media site for your next online awareness or advertising campaign, choose your targets and your vehicles carefully, then watch for signs of engagement or signs of profile fakery, such as few friends and a computer-generated profile pic.