The biggest complaint of late is that community managers are complaining that their Facebook pages don’t have the reach as expected. This could be because of reasons included increased competition in the newsfeed, focus on ads by Facebook and the initiative that Facebook is on to reduce the number of spammy promotional posts. Pages have to work doubly hard to stay visible to their target audience, causing business owners to worry if likes still have value and if there is merit in investing in them.

Does it pay to buy likes?

It does pay to buy likes but only through those purchased via Facebook advertising. This makes the reach of your ad or post cheaper and more effective in reach – means that these fans have already opted-in to receive brand messages. This in turn means they will respond positively at higher rates. Also when target consumers get product or service recommendations from person they trust, the interaction with the brand is far more valuable for a marketer. Facebook imitates this concept when fans engage with brand content by serving ads with “social context.” When fans engage with an ad, their friends are shown the ad with the context that someone in their network liked that particular ad.

So what’s the fuss about fake likes?

Business page owners on Facebook get fake likes very often and this makes their pages to be viewed by less genuine leads and prospects see their posts. If fake profiles are seeing a business page owner’s posts then they won’t be engaging them. Target prospects and genuine customers will be excluded from seeing the business’ posts.

In case of consumers, fake likes can mislead users into thinking a brand is more authentic and popular than it actually is.

What is Facebook doing then to prevent fake likes?

The first step in this is to prevent the use and creation of fake Facebook profiles. Making a Facebook profile requires mobile phone verification especially if multiple accounts are created in the same machine.

Off late Facebook has upped its detection and elimination drive for ‘fake’ likes which could inflate a brand’s importance and visibility artificially. It was important to identify from where the fake likes originated from. Fraudulent likes originated from click farms (armies of low-paid workers), fake accounts and malware. These are sold to page owners who want to boost their exposure on Facebook. In reality they do not improve sales or get actual customers. Facebook has improved its technology for detecting suspicious patterns of likes.

Facebook began letting page owners know about the instances when it blocked or removed fake likes from their pages since March 2015.

Because of the practice of selling fake likes, smaller businesses and some brands face a challenge on how to grow this business and not get lost in the noise. Facebook’s initiative of removing fake likes only helps these businesses who are seeking genuine customers and leads. At the same time Facebook also says that brands and businesses should focus on business objectives – like increased app downloads, or clicks on the website and not rely on likes. Because of Facebook’s war against fake likes a large number of vendors hawking inauthentic likes are likely to go out of business.

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