Remember when the “Facebook Fraud” YouTube video came out last February stating that Facebook is full of spam and Facebook advertising only invites fake fans (a.k.a spam)? The creator of that video got only one thing right: Yes, there are fake accounts/fans on Facebook from countries known for having click farms. If this is the first you’re hearing about click farms and false Facebook fans, I’m sorry. Click farms are a form of spam, and spam works its way into every facet of the world wide web, including email, blog comments, online promotions/contests, “bait and switch” websites, and even social networks. Some of you are even guilty of contributing to spam on Facebook without even knowing it. How can you know?
- Are you buying fans just to have a higher fan base than your competition?
- Are you forcing content and marketing messages onto your fan base with boosted posts in an effort to increase engagement?
- Do you place excessive text on graphics on organic posts in order to be heard?
- Do you complain that Facebook is decreasing your page’s organic reach?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of the above questions, you’re guilty of adding to spam and acquiring fans without a solid strategy, shouting at fans or boosting posts to increase engagement, complaining about the decrease of Facebook’s organic reach and repeating the same cycle over again.
- Identify the purpose of your page and the specific audience you want to reach.
- Keep your posts short and encourage two-way conversations with your fans.
- Use real-life images, not stock images, whenever possible. (Be real.)
- Minimize the use of text on images (less than 20 percent of an image should contain text).
- Keep marketing/promotional content to a minimum (less than 20 percent of total content).
- Create a Facebook marketing strategy before investing in Facebook ads.
Before you even create a Facebook fan page (business page), there should be a strategy behind growing a fan base and posting content. Let’s use the previously mentioned example of the experiment conducted on the “Facebook Fraud” YouTube video that declares Facebook full of spam. This experiment did not have a strategy that defined the page’s purpose, acquired quality fans or created quality content. Providing a legitimate case study for businesses by creating an incomplete page (about kittens) with no valuable content and promoting it worldwide to Facebook users that simply “like” kittens is not a relevant use of Facebook advertising. This example, instead, was set up to fail from the start by offering an incomplete page about a broad topic that was obviously not real, leaving only fake fans and click farms to “like” the page.
Quality Versus Quantity
Ask yourself this about your Facebook fan page: Does the content you post create value for a specific audience and warrant engagement from that audience? I ask in order to stress the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to creating content and building a fan base. When you start a page with a clear purpose and a strategy in place to reach a specific audience, you’ll have a better chance of minimizing spam and maintaining a relevant fan base through targeted Facebook advertising. Quality content attracts quality fans, and Facebook advertising, when used properly, is a great way to grow your fan base. [link to blog #2] Discover the many ad types available on Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor.
On the other hand, if you’ve created your Facebook page with no strategy and focused on the reverse approach, quantity over quality, in order to have more fans than your competition, then I have bad news: You have most likely already compromised the quality of your fan base and your content, resulting in a lower-than-average engagement rate that will lead you to pay to promote your content more often for greater reach.
What do I mean by “compromised the quality of your fan base”? Facebook uses the demographics of your existing fan base when promoting your posts. Therefore, if you’ve built a low-quality fan base, some Facebook ad types (such as boosted posts) will continue to promote to similar low-quality fans. Your spam problem will compound over time. Instead of building a Facebook page with a solid foundation, you’ve created a money pit. [Link to Blog #1]Learn how to check if your Facebook audience has been compromised and how to repair any damage that has been done.
Yes, the days of a free ride on Facebook are over. The company is a publicly traded corporation with shareholders, so it’s no surprise that they want to increase profits. But keep in mind, Facebook is also a powerful marketing database that, when used properly, can grow your business and build a loyal following.
Stop thinking of Facebook as a free marketing service and begin to think of it as a way to engage, provide value and help your customers and potential customers—no matter the size of your fan base. Reassess your business and overall marketing strategy to see how Facebook fits. If you don’t already have a marketing strategy, start there. Think of each social media network as a tool in your marketing tool box. Like any tool, they perform best when used properly for their intended purpose.
What about click farms and spam? Well, spam is everywhere online and not going to disappear. If you’re online, you’re susceptible to it. (There’s spam on Twitter, too, and I’m sure there will probably be a YouTube video about that someday.) But don’t jump off any social media ship just because of spam. Instead, direct your focus and use each social network properly to ensure that your focus is quality over quantity.