We Bought 500 Facebook Likes And Nothing Terrible Happened

Some people are obsessed with the amount of Facebook likes (or Instagram followers or insert social media thing here). I’ve personally always thought it didn’t really matter how many of anything we had so long as these people contributed to the overall community we were trying to create and we had paying customers. (I wrote a blog post about how I truly believe you don’t need infinite customers to survive in business and I still believe that to my core.)

That said, I’ve always wondered would anything terrible happen if we bought likes.

I’ve heard the rumors, that Facebook will do witchy things to your page or your brand would be compromised. But what would happen if, for once, I did take a shortcut?

I did it for science, and I did it for you. (Note if you are a paying client, I’ve never purchased likes for you. I only experiment on my own companies when I do something seemingly risky.)


To be fair about comparing the before and after of this, I knew I had to measure what I thought was important. So I decided to look at the following the month before and the month after I sold out:

  • Number of fans- If I buy a set amount, did this change and did it stay changed after I paid the fee? IE not only am I getting what I’m paying for but does it last.
  • Number of interactions on the average post- Would having more likes make my posts more visible/create more exposure?
  • Number of private messages- Did having more likes lead to more potential money?

I did no paid ads or other campaigns to keep the situations as similar as possible.

I went on a website and paid $5 to someone who guaranteed me 500 Facebook likes and had good reviews.

The month before (October 4-November 4, 2017):

Number of fans: 664
Number of interactions on the average post: 120.2 (averaging 15 data points in the Post Reach section of Facebook Insights.)
Number of private messages: None, though three if you count public Facebook comments from people wanting to buy stuff.

This was a pretty typical month honestly.

Then I bought the likes. Can you guess what day I did it?

The month after (November 5 – December 5, 2017):

Number of fans: 1227 (plus 563 net change)
Number of interactions on the average post: (averaging 15 data points in the Post Reach section): 106.7333333333333333333 (you get the idea)
Number of private messages: None though three if you could public Facebook comments from people wanting to buy stuff.

What’s different for me now that we’ve doubled our Facebook audience?

The short answer is… nothing. It makes sense that people who have no idea who we are and liked us to earn the equivalent of $0.05 are going to interact less with us than the 664 people who have stuck with us (as you can see from the graph above) practically forever.

No noticable increase in business inquiries either. No one has even commented on this change in likes so in other words, other people didn’t even notice our new found purchased popularity.

I guess if you have $5 to spend and don’t feel like buying bitcoin, stocks, etc. you could easily buy some fans. Just know that you’re doing it for your ego and not for much else. 

My next experiment might be, if I just post MORE, will these numbers change? But that’s for next time. For now, while you can buy popularity, you can’t buy shortcuts to growing your business. Which I guess you probably knew already.

5 Tips for Engaging People on Social Media

One of the biggest challenges businesses have with social media is engagement: Generating likes, comments, shares, etc. After all, what’s the point of your social media presence if you’re just shouting into the abyss? Building an audience that will interact with your business on social media can be difficult. But before you get discouraged, take a look at these tips:

Offer a contest. Everybody loves to win something, even if it’s bragging rights (but if you have an actual prize to offer, so much the better). Contests can be a fun once- or twice-a-year thing, and they don’t have to be very complicated. You can even make it as simple as “Guess how many jellybeans are in the jar for a $25 gift certificate.”

A few years ago, Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound offered a Facebook contest where users created an “unofficial slogan” for the restaurant in order to be entered into a random drawing for a t-shirt. There were a couple hundred entries and an increase in page likes over the duration of the contest.

Brainstorm with coworkers and/or check out others in your industry for contest ideas.

Ask Questions. Ask your followers questions on your social media platforms to drive up engagement. This article recommends avoiding broad questions such as “What’s your favorite flavor?” Rather, they suggest giving users multiple choices and an accompanying graphic. Questions can be phrased as customer-service oriented, too. Example: “If we were to add a new machine to the cardio room, what would you choose?” This could also be done using a multiple choice format. Asking a question encourages people to interact with your page (and bonus points to you for responding back).

Encourage people to share. Encourage followers to share how they use your product (this is also known as “User Generated Content”). If you have a brick-and-mortar store, post a sign encouraging people to check in and/or tag your business on social media. And, the more content you can get others to post on your behalf, the better — it increases your reach, and all you did was put up a sign! Again, there’s a lot of ways to be creative.

Ask for Reviews. It may feel a little weird at first, but trust me — one of the best ways to get online reviews is to “make the ask.” It doesn’t have to be frequent — maybe once a week or every other week — in order to remind people where you are online. Cross-pollinate these requests. Example: Folks might already be reviewing you on Facebook. So post on Facebook a reminder that your business can also be reviewed on Yelp or Google+. People are willing to help you out, but they have to know where and how.

People are willing to help you out, but they have to know where and how.

Pay attention to analytics. Sounds boring? Maybe, but following your analytics may be the most helpful thing you can do to boost engagement. Look at individual social media accounts to devise the best strategy for each. For example, you may find Twitter requires more posts per day than Facebook. Automate this task using online tools such as Buffer, MeetEdgar, or Hootsuite. (Source)

As you create a social media marketing plan, think about how you can incorporate some of these ideas into your strategy and encourage people to interact with what you have to say.

Facebook Live And Facebook Ads: An Experiment

Rumor has it that advertising/boosting Facebook Live videos is less expensive and more beneficial than other types of Facebook Ads.

Of course, we wouldn’t just rely on a rumor. So we ran a little experiment where we boosted two posts (a Facebook Live video and a blog post we wrote) with the same amount of money for the same seven day period. (Like any good experiment, you should only change one variable at a time!)




Some interesting things we can see right away.

  1. The blog post I promoted wasn’t styled sexy. I could have worked a little harder to make it visually compelling, especially for mobile.
  2. The video got way more direct engagement (clicks) and reach (views) than the other post.
  3. The blog post got more comments and shares, which we could argue is more ‘deep’ than someone liking or viewing.
  4. We didn’t use tracking links or any real call to action (ex: email newsletter signup) to see if these drove actual business. So not an entirely amazing experiment on all fronts.

One experiment can’t definitively prove anything, but our results show that Facebook is making Live video ads a cheaper prospect to those willing to give them a shot. (I will say, it is cool Facebook let’s you pick your thumbnail; don’t settle for the one they give you!).