Facebook has had its share of problems of late. Adding to the concerns of falling revenues, click fraud and miscommunication with customers that amount to a shake down, Facebook now has to content with Fake profiles that amount to almost 10% of the network.
In a recently released study filed by Facebook the company admitted that as many as 83 million profiles, probably more, are fake. The number should be of direct concern to marketers as well as webmaster because much of the social media marketing return-on-investment (ROI) metric, carried out on the platform is based upon the number of fans and ‘Likes’ a particular page gets.
The assumption behind the fans and ‘Likes’ is that they express interest upon what a Facebook Page does which leads to some degree of success in the brand becoming known which then leads to further interaction, publicity and, eventually, sales. This logical chain of events collapses however the moment the first instance upon which it is built: the Facebook ‘Like’ comes from a fake profile.
Fake ‘Likes’ may augment the perception of social media marketing success for a Facebook Page but they will not lead to any further interaction or publicity. They will not attract any further real people. They will not bring in any sales.
More than that, they may lead to the abandonment of the Facebook Page as “not working” (we have seen that with many Brands abandoning their Pages because they struggled to convert their apparent Facebook popularity into anything which could justify the cost and give them a return for their investment.
The danger here is of distraction. The lone webmaster, working on his own or with a small team and a limited budget only has so much time and energy to put into promoting a Facebook Page. Fake profiles and meaningless ‘Likes’ absorb it and give nothing in return. In addition they may derail a perfectly good social media marketing campaign before it has had the chance to really take off, precisely because it skews the metrics and creates the wrong impression.
The question of value right now is should you move away from Facebook in your marketing? The easy answer is no. You shouldn’t. But where Facebook, in the past, took centre stage in most social media marketing campaigns, now you may want to reconsider, particularly if you are using an agency or are relying on third parties to get Facebook going for you, and you have no real way of gauging their methods. You should also not use any Facebook advertising to increase the ‘Likes’ on your Page.
The rule of thumb here is if you cannot grow it yourself, organically, you should not try to augment it by paying.