For quite some time I was an admin of a page I no longer managed. It was basically a service to a business I had worked with for years since the people they had taking over were still learning how to manage their page and their admin roles. As such, I had a unique opportunity to look inside the workings of someone else’s social media strategy to see what works, and, in this case, doesn’t work.
To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention at first, occasionally popping in to look at their posts. Most were not interesting at all- links without pictures and poor headlines. They received few if any likes.
But, like anyone who has admin access to a page and has it set up, I regularly received updates on their statistics emailed to me from Facebook, specifically their “like” or follower numbers. And here is where I saw something that sparked my interest.
Each and every week they had new fans. Not just a few, but a LOT. Considering they were a major player in their particular knowledge base this might not have been strange except for a few little facts. First, as mentioned above, each post had few if any likes and almost no shares. They were not creating a lot of traffic from their content. But hey, maybe they were getting traffic elsewhere. Completely possible.
No, that’s not what really raised the red flags. It was the number of new fans. Each and every week for more than 6 months they had an increase of 100 fans, sometimes it was a few more, but NEVER less and almost always it was EXACTLY 100 fans.
You might be thinking, that’s AWESOME, how do I do that!? Let me stop you there. It’s not awesome. There’s only one way you do that. You buy it. You buy fans.
Great, you think, now you’ve got a huge fan base! But what value is a like if those fans really don’t care about what you’re doing? I’ll tell you, not only do they have no value, they actually are COSTING you. It’s true.
You see, because these paid for fans don’t actually care about your content, they don’t interact with your content. They don’t click on and read your posts, they don’t like your posts, they don’t share your posts. And as you have more and more fans who don’t interact with your post the more your reach goes down.
Reach is a metric Facebook uses to see if you’re producing good content that people like. And well, now that you have a bunch of fans who don’t care what you do, your content is seen as bad content. You’ve just paid to make sure your content is seen as bad content.
So what does that mean? It means that all those fans you had who actually liked your content are even less likely to see your stuff. Why? Because Facebook is pretty sure your content is garbage. As a percentage, very few people like or interact with the stuff you’re posting, so why should Facebook show it to anyone? You’re posting junk. Of course the fans who actually like you might not think so, but those paid fans do.
You’ve literally ruined your Facebook page by paying for fans.
As a note, there’s another version of paying for fans. You can pay for fans AND get them to comment too! Great right? Not so much. I’ve seen a small nonprofit do this with horrible results. How could I tell? A post about a slaughter of a pack of wolves had people posting comments like “this is great!” You see you’re not paying for people to post good comments or read your articles and, with that, you’ll get nothing but comments like “this is great” or “cool” to absolutely anything you post. It degrades your community and eventually your real fans will wonder what is going on with your page and why you have fans who don’t seem to care at all about what you’re doing.
So check out the graphic below… The top page is a look at the page in question. Check out the total reach compared to their total page likes? See what a small portion of people are looking at their content vs the total number of people who like their page? Now check out the pages that I manage. Every single one has reach far beyond the number of people who like the page. My fans are seeing my content.
If all you care about is how many people like you then why are you on Facebook? It’s not to sell your product (people aren’t seeing your posts or your product) and it’s not to get your message out to people.
Your goal NEEDS to be getting people to see and CARE about your content.
This isn’t a popularity contest folks. Trying to be popular is a failure proposition… just check it out below!
(Note: Click on the picture to enlarge)