Recently, Facebook rolled out its strengthened policy on user privacy and newsfeed activity. We have to give Facebook a point for that. However, one aspect they are still battling to no success is the fake Facebook ‘likes’ and mine farms that, while they look good aesthetically in terms of numbers, may be ruining your entire ad campaign while reducing engagement.
Facebook and its Reach
Among other platforms like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, Facebook packs greater power in advertising. Its targeting has given businesses the chance to reach specific customers on a large geographical scale in terms of their interests.
Facebook has 1.35 monthly active users. For a business, this reach is gigantic! It opens up possibilities worldwide for the 25 million small and medium business advertising on the platform.
According to study, B2B and B2C companies acquired new customers at the rate of a 43% and 77% increase, respectively. More customers and more fans lead to increased interaction and more ‘likes’. Likes then lead to purchases.
Fake Facebook Likes
There are so many reason why the Facebook like is important among business pages. But the two most important reasons include, first, it’s pleasing to look at, i.e. it symbolizes your popularity. Pages with a big fan base may project the idea of being legitimate, interesting and informative. The second one is, the more fans, the more likely your adverts are to be multiplied among your liker’s own reach.
But it isn’t all positive. Unfortunately, business pages have seen a negative trend over Facebook’s targeting ads; they seem to be proliferated with fake likes. Fake likes or fake fans may look good from the outside; however it can cause trouble in the long run.
How are fake likers acquired?
So, how are these fake fans acquaried in the first place?
- Likes brought from not-so-legit ads, advertising fast acquisition of page likers
- Legit Facebook pages targeting posts that were somehow clicked by fake likers
Let’s discuss each scenario.
The first scenario is usually a result of the page admin’s decision that a little plumping up of fan base can help even if it’s not a legitimate source. It’s fast, cheap and it looks good. But when analytics try to sum everything up, this will balloon the disparity ratio between non-interactive and interactive fans.
The second scenario is one which is, for the most part, uncontrollable (there are things you can do, we will discuss that later). This can happen when you sponsor your post to reach worldwide users. Of course, it will yield legit fans and likes especially if the content is engaging. But it can also be a magnet for click farms that are put up solely for cheap likes. Some offer 1000 clicks for $11.50, some offer 10,000 clicks for $480. That would mean an enormous amount of likes for a little bit extra.
How Fake Facebook Likes Affect Businesses
Time and time again, Facebook has been bombarded by business claims of hollow likes or likes with no ROI significance. This would, at some point, render business pages useless. These fake Facebook likes may adversely affect your marketing strategy in many ways, some of which we have outlined below.
Once you do legit ads, the fake likers may siphon off your money by clicking again
Although your posts will only be showing up in 20% of your follower’s timelines, imagine if half of this 20% was revealed to be click farm generated profiles. To gain credibility themselves, they have to click legit ads and posts from time to time. If you’re unfortunate enough, you will find yourself having to pay Facebook for these “hollow likes”. Facebook gains money while you gain likes without the revenue.
This will happen again and again unless you can identify these fake profiles and remove them manually.
Usually, real and interested followers will engage in your page activities. They will comment and interact among fellow likers. They will like and share your posts. They will click your links. Eventually, they will click that “Buy Now” button.
Plus, Facebook algorithms only show your posts to a margin of your followers and determines popularity within that margin of fan base. If it becomes a hit, Facebook will start showing the post to a larger number of your fans. So, if you have been unluckily exposed to unresponsive fans, your post will stay where it is, with no additional exposure to the rest of your fan base.
Not your target market
If you’re based in Australia and most of your fans are based in the Philippines, Pakistan or India, and your product may have little relevance to these countries, can you say that you’ve achieved your goal and target market? The answer is a glaring no, of course. This audience may not have the interest for the marketed brand.
Useless lead converts
The goal of social media marketing and advertising is to engage users and lead them to your company website. However, fake likers won’t be taking that next step and if ever they do, it will be for nothing.
Fake likers distorts metrics
Your analytics won’t show who your real followers are. Everything in your campaign may start to yield inaccurate numbers since you cannot quantify the fake fans and the real fans.
Fake fans, Zero ROI
Facebook has launched a campaign to weed out fake profiles and false likers. Legal action has been taken against these click farms, including the removal of fake likes and blocking fake accounts. But is Facebook really doing everything possible to save businesses from spending their money on hollow likes?
Say a good 50% of your fans are based in Pakistan and you’re selling exercise equipment. The results might be very positive if you’re Pakistan based. However, this could be useless for businesses based in Australia. One reported example of this is that of Raaj Kapur Brar, a small business owner, whose story is featured in Business Insider. He is $600,000 in debt for his paid Facebook ads which he refuses to pay. His website has been rendered useless by so many likes with revenue that can’t cover the amount he spent. Apparently, instead of paying for this, he chose to ruin his credit with Facebook.
Many business page owners aren’t experts in the marketing and advertising landscape. They give their credit card number and equate the huge number of likes to success, which we know is not the case at all.
Page admins are becoming more aware of the issue, and have started pushing their complaints onto Facebook since these fake likes decrease engagement, increase bills and don’t do anything to increase revenue.
How to Remove Fake Fans
Before venturing into this fix-up, you have to understand that you will need to invest money, time, effort and patience in weeding out bots and fake likers. Here are some tips:
#1 Is it worth your effort?
As said, you will be spending money and time on this if you hire someone to find fake followers. If you’re doing it yourself, you will still need to put in a lot of effort and a huge chunk of your time.
This task can be plausible if you are a small business with fans within the range of 0-10,000. But what if, like Brar, you have 1.7 million likers? You can hire third party audits or firms specializing in this kind of work, but that would be an added expense.
So, is it worth your effort? If you firmly believe it is, then proceed.
#2 Check your fans and start identifying them
Your fake fans will usually have very few friends (some fake profiles have only 10), they have generic profile photos or none at all. Here’s what to do:
- Go to your page.
- Use graph search. In your search box, search Fans of (page name) or you can search Fans of (page name) and lives in (specify the country you suspect is the origin of your fake likers).
- If you found somebody suspicious, report the profile.
- Or ban the user permanently from creating further problems with your page.
- Analyze your leads origin, if it comes from countries which house click farms, then you may start acting by pausing ads for a while, and removing fake likers.
As an independent page owner, this may sound like a lot of work. For marketing experts, it’s still a lot of work to weed out fake profiles. And the fact that these can be generated by Facebook’s ad tools in the first place makes the whole process of Facebook advertising tricky if you don’t have much money to spare on ads.
Facebook offers no tools for bulk deletion of fake followers, so as a page admin you may need to gather lots of patience for this.
The secret is: don’t solely rely on buying and advertising to gain followers, instead, focus your efforts on earning loyal followers.
featured image: SEO