There was a Twitter conversation recently about the practice of buying Facebook ‘Fans’ and ‘Likes’. Apparently the way it works is that a firm guarantees a brand that it will acquire a certain number of fans and likes on Facebook – for a price, of course. And there are firms in places like Indore which employ people whose job profile is simply to ‘like’ brand pages. @beastoftraal plans to share the low down (no pun intended) of such practices soon – and as is wont, expect a detailed post from him.
Meanwhile, a cursory search on Google reveals that in the US, there are ‘experts’ who recommend such practices and options are huge. The rationale offered is that while it is easy for established brands (with a heritage) to garner fans, new or unknown brands can build traction by ‘seeing to be’ popular on FB.
Since social media marketing is still a fad, many marketers tend to hang on to buzz words like ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ as the only or primary measure of success. No wonder there is a market for them. Remember the days when web pages were the rage and one had to contend with designers who could set up a site for Rs.1000 or even less. Stuff like brand aesthetics, content and engagement go for a toss in such situations.
I can’t imagine savvy marketers or just plain smart businessmen not being able to figure out that you can’t force someone to like your brand. And that affinity comes from within. But unlike a low price website, the fan count is a badge. And who doesn’t like to show off? And when your rival brand boasts of a higher number of fans, it is time to join the bandwagon. Maybe over time, sanity will prevail.