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One of the most popular questions surrounding social media is always centered around exposure. The question of whether or not a company should buy Facebook likes for their page almost always comes up. Of course, the trend is not limited to the king of social media, because buying Twitter followers and Instagram followers always comes up as well, as does buying likes for individual posts.
The Short Answer
The answer is a bit more complicated, but from a logical approach, companies and small businesses generally have nothing real to gain from making the purchase. Wishpond.com has it right, because aside from vanity and from saying, “I’ve got 2000 likes on my page!” there is no real tactical benefit.
The Long Answer
Yes, the number of likes, followers, or whatever buzzword a social media site gives to the number of people that want a company in their newsfeed is often a direct correlation to the popularity of the organization, person, or charity. Therefore, buying thousands of Facebook likes or Twitter followers makes a brand look a little more popular, which could influence others to click the button and subscribe to the feed.
Of course, that logic is tied to the fact that other people outside of the purchased followers actually see the post. Because unless a post gets shared, interacted with, retweeted, or some other form of support, it flounders out there on the pages it makes it to. Which by the way is the opposite of social networking. It always comes down to risk versus reward, how much does the investment of $20 or $40 hold to a business? Is the chance worth it? Maybe and maybe not.
In addition, Adespresso.com makes a number of great arguments against buying Facebook likes based on market research, eventual ad campaigns, and even pagerank. Again, weighing the risk versus the reward is what it is all about. Hey, nobody said this social marketing thing was easy.
The Really Uncomplicated Approach
Small local companies are different from the massive corporations that boast international selling data. The local sports card dealer, coffee shop, or bakery is probably not really concerned with getting sales from visitors on the other side of the country (or globe for that matter), because that is not the core of the business.
Building a local brand requires localized effort. Twitter followers and Facebook likes from people that actually shop or buy from the business translates into more shares and interactions from customers, which increases exposure onto other timelines and newsfeeds, which turns into other local people stopping in to become customers. Basically, the essence of social marketing--increasing the exposure of the brand.
Small businesses increase their social media presence slowly over time. Pages shoot out of the tunnel gaining likes as customers find out about the page. Once that mania wears off, it’s all about the content and the ideas being communicated that make the brand unique and desirable.
Chances are that formula sounds familiar. Customers storm in when a business opens to see what it has to offer. If it is a winner, the business builds in popularity, and if it is not, customers are a rare thing. Concentrate on the content, and don’t worry too much about the number of likes or followers. Good posts have a way of finding an audience.
Plus, they find a great audience full of potential customers, and that is an epic win.