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“Facebook Fraud (Video)” Response – Time to give up on Facebook?

This is an update from my previous post which explored the benefits of Facebook advertising for small businesses.

Now watch the video just below by the Veritasium Channel. It’s great. It explores why Facebook Likes and Facebook Advertising are, put simply, a “fraud”. The findings are explored very well and overall it holds a very strong argument.

Now this might sound like a complete contradiction against my previous post – to an extent it is! But, in my view it’s a case of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. More on that below after the video:

So you’re probably thinking either “Damn you Facebook!” perhaps in more aggressive language, or you might just be feeling confused. Here’s what the video is saying:

If you are trying to get more likes through Facebook Advertising then this might not be a great tactic. This is the main concern, however there are further underlining arguments like ‘what about the future of Facebook?’. So, according to the video, why isn’t Facebook Advertising a great tactic?

  • Why? Because those liking the page might not be real people.
  • How come? Because those fake people are generated by click farms.
  • But Facebook Advertising doesn’t use click farms? No, BUT, the click farms are clicking on the ads so they make it harder for Facebook to see that they are fake accounts.

Now, there’s actually still 2 sides of the story here:

This is bad because…

  • You’re paying for irrelevant Likes.
  • When you target a post now, it doesn’t go to very many of your fans. If your post starts gain engagement, then it will start to be seen by more people. However ‘fake fans’ do not engage.
  • This means your future posts do not get seen by real people.

In a way, it can also be good (but only for some)…

  • The larger number of Facebook Fans is very impressive to potential clients and customers.

So there’s still an argument there – Which is why people use click farms in the first place. But it’s quite a sour argument at that and one that I wouldn’t advise. So then the next question is, ‘why does Facebook not take further action against these spammy fake accounts’?

1.) It’s too difficult.
2.) They’re still making money.
3.) If they change it back, then the stats won’t sound as impressive.

My Response

The evidence in this video is very strong and the experiences I have had with Facebook Advertising do partly back up what is being said. But, I am not saying “stop everything now”.

My main point would be this: Don’t use Facebook Advertising just to solely gain new fans. Facebook Advertising can indeed still be a very effective tool if used correctly and with specific targeting.

My experience of using Facebook Advertising just to get new fans has had mixed results. But why do this in the first place? Well, the number of fans can be impressive particularly to bosses and marketing managers do like to chase good stats! Also, previously you could have got that new fan and continued to post more messages to them. (Now however as we’ve seen, posts only get seen by a few of your fans).

What action should you to take?

You should still be posting messages that aim to be engaging and valuable. But I wouldn’t get caught up so much on stats.

Don’t use Facebook advertising solely to get fans, as this will distort your true fan base.

You can still use Facebook advertising! Instead of gearing it towards getting likes, instead gear it towards getting people to your website. Make sure you use real specific targeting – perhaps by location by town and by friends of fans.

And of course, use Facebook as part of your overall marketing tools such as Twitter, Google+ and Email Marketing (which I’ll come onto later). I would definitely think of using Twitter more, as all messages are shown. And use Google + particularly from an SEO perspective.

The real value of a Facebook Fan

Facebook Fans are expensive. You can pay to get them. You can pay to try and target them. But Facebook could go down tomorrow. And actually, you are renting that data – nothing’s actually yours.

Instead, think of the old fashioned way: email marketing. Capture an email address, and you’ve officially got their consent to send them information. Yes, sending emails still has a price (although if you’re a small business or have a small email list, then it’s probably going to be free with mailchimp!). Now that’s your data to keep. And we know, email has been around a while and won’t be going away anytime soon.

I’ll be keeping a close eye

The video above is great – it presents strong evidence that has been found very well. However it’s not a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Not just yet anyway! The campaigns in the video used very broad targeting – for small businesses you may be targeting by niche locations and interests, and that’s what you should be doing. But, things can change rapidly and I’ll be keeping a close eye on what’s going to happen next!

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