I remember my first day of the third grade more vividly than the beginning of any other school year. My parents had moved across town, and I was starting in a new school district. Nobody knew anything about me. Was I nice, funny, good at sports, able to help with their math homework? I was a complete mystery. You might say I was starting out with zero “likes”. How nice would it have been to be able to walk into class on that first day with the reputation of being liked by thousands of people? I mean, nobody is going to pick me last for kick-ball if I’m liked by thousands of people, right?
Well, here it is, years later, and I’m the new kid in school again. I just started a new Facebook page, and I look over and see a big goose-egg next to how many people like me. Well, actually my mom likes the page, but that’s only going to take me so far in life, right? Unlike that sunny day in September, I can actually spend $50.00 and have 5000 likes! Right out of the gate I’ll be the most popular kid in school! Well, as tempting as that sounds, I won’t be doing that, and neither should you! Here are four reasons why not.
Everybody in class knows that I’m liked by 5000 people. The problem is, every recess, I’m standing alone, lazily batting a tether-ball back and forth. Every lunch I sit off in a corner, slowly eating my pudding cup. For such a popular kid, it sure seems like nobody is really in the mood to interact with me. In the world of Facebook, this is called “Engagement”, which is just a fancy buzz word meaning “people interacting with your social media posts.” If everybody who likes you is fake, then your engagement will be zilcho! Facebook’s got an algorithm called EdgeRank that determines an engagement score, and controls who sees your post based on this score. Long story short, if nobody is engaging with you, it’ll be difficult to get your message out to the valid people who legitimately “liked” your page!
I’ve been in school for several weeks now, and I actually have a few people that genuinely like me! What better way to solidify these budding relationships into life-long friendships then to throw an amazing Halloween party?! My mom is fine with it, but she’s only going to send invitations out to 10% of the people that like me, and she’s going to include my fake friends in that pool. Right now you’re probably asking yourself why my mother would be so cruel! Well, did you know that Facebook will only show about 10% of your followers your latest status update? The best way to get new clients using Facebook is to get a following and then run a promotion to those followers, but what is the point of running a great promotion to a bunch of fake people?
Third grade has had its share of difficulty. Lunchtime was pretty lonely for a while, and my Halloween party was only attended by one real friend. It hasn’t been all bad however, as there are several people who legitimately like me! Unfortunately, my fake friends are not exactly providing me with the enduring relationships I’m looking for. A lot of them have actually decided to not like me anymore. In fact, it actually looks like I have less friends then the beginning of the school year! This is not helping my reputation. Many of your fake Facebook “likes” will unlike you over the next year. Not only does this result in inconsistent numbers, but Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank, will take this into account and figure that something about my posts is turning people off, and therefore it’s not worth showing my fans what I’m posting.
School year is almost done, and despite the hardships caused by my fake likes, I think things are finally starting to go my way. Of course, this is my thought before the principal calls me into his office. “I understand you were not honest about how many people liked you when you came to school,” the principal says from behind his enormous wooden desk. “Yes,“ I say sheepishly. “I was new here and for $50 I saw that I could….” “I’m sorry, “ he cuts me off, “it is against the rules of this school to pay fake people to like you. I’m afraid you are expelled immediately. Good bye.” Looks like fourth grade is not going to start off any easier for me. Facebook’s Terms of Service clearly states that buying “likes” is against the rules. If they catch you, they will shut down your page and all your hard work will be wasted.
It’s never easy to be the new kid, but work past the desperation to buy fake “likes” on Facebook. Building a solid, engaged and REAL audience can seem daunting, but it’s not difficult, it just takes a bit of dedication and patience. When I think back to my grade-school years, the people that genuinely liked me and that I had a real connection with mean far more to me then how popular I appeared to be. So I guess the moral is, everything I needed to know about people liking me on Facebook I learned in grade school.