Why “Buying Fans” & “Liker Ladders” Could Damage Your Facebook Business Page {and Tips to Build your FanBase without them}


business Facebook liker ladders

Earlier this week, some of my Clients and Fans were offered massive amounts of “Liker Ladders” from a company that is doing regular shout-outs on Facebook. For 2-3 shout-outs per day, for a period of 3 months, the cost being offered is a once-off payment of $20. Sounds like a bargain right? Unfortunately not. One of my clients texted me early Monday morning and by the time I wrote back to her by midday advising against entering into this $20 deal (high-finance, I know), she had already done the deal. Some of my other Fans that also signed up said “it was a limited time deal, only available for the next 5-minutes, I couldn’t resist the allure of gaining more Fans without working for it!” Others inboxed me saying “I saw an opportunity to grow my Fan base real quick, and went for it, but have I done the right thing?” These reactions are fair enough. Who doesn’t want loads of new Fans on their Page, yesterday? But guess who is the only company benefiting from these schemes? Not yours.

There are two activities raging through Facebook at the moment which I would like to draw your attention to, if you are not aware of them already. The first is “Liker Ladders”. And the second is “Buying Facebook Fans”. Both are as soul-less and futile as the other. I will explain why both are not going to help build your brand on Facebook, and how both can be potentially detrimental to your brand, in a cataclysmic way.

Firstly, “Liker Ladders”….

This is where, for a limited time only (eg “for the next half an hour“) someone hosts a “Liker Ladder” on their Facebook Business Page. The sum total of this activity involves one company declaring a “Like event” on their page and everyone rushing to their Page to Like all the pages that leave a comment on their Page. It is basically on “online Like party”. At the surface it sounds as though this sort of reciprocal love would be nourishing for your Facebook Business Page, right? Wrong. The problem with this is that only a tiny amount (if any) of the Fans that will like your Page during one of these “blitz” events, will ever be in your demographic. Therefore only a minuscule number of these Fans (or none) will generate any engagement on your Page. So how many of these Fans do you think will buy from you in the future? Zip. So don’t expect big love from any of these Fans that you have picked up during a “Liker Ladder” event. I explained to my clients that…..

“Liker Ladders” is like “rent a crowd” for your party, there is never going to be any love in the room with this sort of event

So why is everyone doing it? Short answer. To shortcut the work involved in building their Fanbase. Long answer. Sorry peeps, there is no shortcut. If there was, I’d be doing it. A “Liker Ladder” will definitely increase the number of Fans on your Page, but it will decrease the love (Engagement) on your page too. You don’t want to lose your Engagement level as this affects your ranking in the News Feed (see my post about EdgeRank to learn more about this). More importantly, the only company a “Liker Ladder” event is helping, is the host company itself. THEY get loads of engagement by everyone hitting their Page all at once, Facebook thinks “Phoaw, this Page is popular!” and gives them more EdgeRank points.  So you ARE helping somebody get better Engagement, but that “somebody” is not your FanPage.

The Social Media strategy I advise my clients is primarily based on Engagement (love) not prowess (bigger/better). The size of your FanBase is secondary if you are not engaging your Fans….

If all you want to do is grow the number of Fans on your Page, then you are missing half the picture. Yes growing your FanBase is important, but Engagement is the other half of the story that can’t be ignored and it is the more important half. Ignore Engagement and your Facebook for Business Page is doomed to fail.

The ONLY time I would say that a “Liker Ladder” blitz event is worth your $20, is, if, AND ONLY IF, the “Liker Ladder” team was in a very targeted market that was very aligned with your business. And this is a big if. Therefore if you are synergistic with the Liker Ladder “host” company, then go for it, and see how it works for you…..  If however the audience of the “Liker Ladder” host party is very general or the FanBase has nothing to do with your market, then your $20 is better spent on two tubs of good quality ice cream to share at your next dinner party where your real friends do turn up to.

So in a nutshell, “Liker Ladders” are short sighted at best, and in the long run, the Fans you’ve won via any dial-a-rent-a-crowd-scheme, will become a noose around your neck –> you will never be able to hit any high Engagement notes with these empty fans that won’t love you back (because they won’t engage with you). Your Page will eventually drop in ranking (EdgeRank) and your Page will grow at a slower and slower pace in the future until it grinds to a halt. Sad story, but so true. I’ve seen many folks use “Liker Ladders” to give them instant speed & satisfaction, and then come to me for help to “fix” their Pages once the damage is done. It is repairable, but we’re basically back-to-the-drawing board, building their FanBase from scratch. So why waste this precious time in the first place?

I advise a slow burn is a better strategy in the long run. In my view, the turtle wins the (Social Media) race, every time. So if you’re tempted to enter a “Liker ladder”, if you find them irresistible, then you need to ask yourself “which race am I running? Speed to reach a certain number of Fans by a certain deadline or Quality of your FanBase? PLUS remember that the rented crowd will never buy from you. AND they will “Unlike” your Facebook Page at some point in the future because they were never really interested your business in the first place.

The second of the “empty joys” is “Buying Facebook Fans”….

Oy vey, I get “deals” like this offered to me every day! The going rate is about $500 per few thousand Fans. My emphatic advice, don’t be tempted. Here’s why….

Issue#1.  Illegal on Facebook Business Pages. It’s against Facebook Terms & Conditions to “buy” Fans. “Buying Fans” is Facebook Black Market on steroids. And Facebook actively shuts down 20,000 accounts a day that it’s suss about, for whatever reason. So imagine all your hard work to date, thrown out the window. Pfffft. Gone forever. And there’s no Facebook Court, there’s no getting your Page back. Once a Facebook Business Page goes to the Sin-Bin, it rarely comes back.

Issue #2. Loss of Engagement. There’s the “No Love” problem (no engagement) for all the reasons above.

Issue #3. Integrity. When I see really big fan counts or Fan Counts that jump up really quickly, I’m already suss about it. Any big Fan Count can be faked by buying Fans. If someone has a really big Fan count, I am already questioning the Integrity of the business. Guilty before proven innocent, Your Honour. And it is only because I know for a fact that this sort of “Buying Fans” racket is so rampant that I jump to this conclusion. So to separate the Good Pages (the Pages I want to trust) from the Bad Pages (the Pages I don’t want to follow), I always look at the “number of people talking about this”…. if the Fan count is huge but the engagement is low, I know there’s a good chance the business bought their fans….. That doesn’t impress me, so I don’t follow them – I can’t trust a business  that needs to “fake” their FanBase! (Because it’s hard not to jump to the next conclusion, what else are they faking? A natural conclusion, right?)

But if a Page has a huge Fan count AND a big “talking about this”, then I’m uber impressed. That’s why “super engagement” is so great to see on a Business Page, you have to be really rocking to be “super engaged” and it’s reasonably rare. (You can read more about super engagement here). Anyone that has a “super-engaged” Page is a Rockstar, in my opinion, at least Online….

My TOP TIPS to grow your FanBase on your Facebook Business Page

There are lots of actions you can take to increase your FanBase on Facebook. Keeping in mind that your Fan count will increase naturally over time with everything you do. The primary strategy is to be active.  If you choose to increase your Fan count with any of the “rent-a-crowd” schemes (which is what “Liker Ladders” and “Buy Fans” are essentially), this defeats the purpose of having {love + soul} on your Page. I understand most folks feel the pressure to get a gazillion more Fans in a hurry, but it will happen. It took me 3 years to organically build a 2,000 strong FanBase on the SummerHills Retreat Byron Bay Page (my other business). I am not saying that it will take you this long (I had no-one to help or teach me, that’s why I share my successful strategy, to help other small business owners also achieve success with their online marketing)…. Therefore I’m a big believer in a “soulful marketing” strategy that will ensure you build a FanBase that is….

  1. within the Facebook Business Page guidelines
  2. attracting love on your Page
  3. converting Fans to Sales
  4. building a Page that also builds Integrity and Trust for your business

Here’s my Top Tips on how to increase your FanBase organically, without the aide of Buying Fans or Liker Ladder schemes…..

1.       Keep active on FaceBook. Keep a consistent (daily) approach with your Social Media

2.       “Like” other businesses that are synergistic with your business

3.       Shout-out regularly with “mentions” and “tags” on your own Business Page. Share the love and you will get the love back

4.       “Share” posts from other businesses whose Fans are in your target market (this will reveal your business to their FanBase)

5.       Identify who are your peers, advocates, industry leaders, and….

6.       …..Leave posts on their business pages (this will put you in front of the fan base that is the right demographic for your business)….

7.      There are loads more steps you can take, which are all outlined in detail in the second half of my book “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business”.

8.      Rather than posting randomly, establish a clear  “Facebook for Business” strategy, which is half about Engagement and half about building your FanBase. Both halves of this strategy are shared in full in my book, including case studies and worksheets. (And if you are currently posting “randomly” with no strategy, read here why you need to remedy this STAT).

The main thing to remember is that once you establish a clear Social Media Strategy, be consistent with your Social Media. KEEP IT UP. Over time, you will develop a “Unique Voice” on your Page which will pay off in the future, when your dozens of Fans turn into hundreds, and your hundreds turn into thousands. And once you’re staring at multiple thousands of Fans, you will be wondering what all the fuss was about, a few thousand Fans ago.

My final thought to leave you with today is….

Liker-Ladder and Buy-Fans “schemes” are like “white-bread” = Full of empty calories. You are better off reaching for the multi-grain and establishing a solid Social Media strategy that will nourish your Page. Don’t be soul-less on your Page, be prepared to “turn up” for your customers by engaging with them online. If you connect with your Fans both online + offline PLUS deliver a great product to your customers once you do win their business, you have a winning formula.

Are you ready to build a clear and solid strategy for your business on Facebook? If so, sign up for my upcoming Facebook For Business Workshop where we build your Facebook for Business strategy from scratch. Or come along to the next Social Media Club where we brainstorm different authentic & soulful online marketing strategies every month. All this helps to support and grow your brand online in a positive way. Are you ready to kick-off your business year for 2013 ? If you need some direction, I’m here to support you, my 1-on-1 mentoring sessions could also help.

Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

And I would be as happy as a frog in the rain if you shared this post with your friends in your favourite online playground. Thank you xx

With Gratitude
Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Strategist, Author, Speaker & Social Media Business Specialist

{Heart Tree photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net}

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About Francesca

Francesca Esposito-Rose is CEO of SummerHills.com, a successful Australian Retreat. Also Digital Strategist, Business Mentor and Facebook Business Specialist. With extensive experience over many years in corporate and public management and private business ownership, a past life as a geek and too much internet experience to admit in public, she translates Facebook for Business into understandable language that others leave you wondering about. Francesca has a fresh and straight-talking style in both writing and management, getting the job done, quickly, efficiently and successfully.

10 Responses to “Why “Buying Fans” & “Liker Ladders” Could Damage Your Facebook Business Page {and Tips to Build your FanBase without them}”

  1. Olga January 12, 2013 2:59 pm #

    Hi there, You’ve done an excellent job in explaining the issues. I’ll definitely DIGG it and suggest to my friends. I am sure they will benefit from this blog post as alot of them are doing this liker ladder stuff.

    Olga

  2. William Adams January 12, 2013 3:59 pm #

    I really like your writing style, great information, regards for posting :D . I had a feeling it was wrong to do a like ladder, now I know why!

    William Adams

  3. Vala G. January 12, 2013 4:05 pm #

    Good write-up, I’m a regular visitor to your site, and I’m going to be a regular for a long time to come. Today’s blog post just blows me away, thank you for sharing the issues about these liker ladder schemes, I was wondering what all the fuss was about!

    Vala G.

  4. Louis January 12, 2013 4:05 pm #

    This is truly a great blog post. I am happy that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t know the problems, now I def. won’t buy fans!

    Louis

  5. Regan Hooker January 12, 2013 5:08 pm #

    Hi there it’s me, I am visiting your website regularly, this site is actually fantastic and I love the fact that you are sharing such excellent thoughts with us. Keep it up !

    Regan Hooker

  6. Adam Thornburg January 12, 2013 5:37 pm #

    Hi yeah this article is really nice, I have learnt alot from your post today about why not to buy fans, I didn’t realise the problems involved.

    Adam Thornburg

  7. Caroline leavit January 12, 2013 6:42 pm #

    This article will sure clear the confusion for everyone about whether to enter into liker ladders and buying fans. Thanks for such a detailed blog post. I have learnt something today thanks to you :)

    Caroline Leavit

  8. bryant sherrod January 12, 2013 6:48 pm #

    This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool! I won’t be buying Facebook Fans any time soon now that I have read your write up on the issues.

    Bryant Sherrod

  9. Mary January 12, 2013 9:53 pm #

    I like this post, enjoyed this one immensely, appreciate you putting it up. I have been tempted to get into these liker ladder schemes, so now I know why not to, thanks for the clear and succinct info, I will come back to your blog for more resources like this…. you’re a great writer… and funny too :)

    Mary

  10. Amanda C. January 12, 2013 10:01 pm #

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, as well as the content!

    Amanda C.

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