Like Swaps – A Worthwhile Exercise?

August 26, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                  return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Facebook thumbs up and Twitter follow buttonsFacebook like swaps and Twitter mutual follow invitations often pop up on various social media platform threads.  Born of the desire to swell the number of likes and follows on our business pages, the strategy is simple enough.  You like my page and I’ll like yours.  While the numbers do rise, how effective is this popular strategy?

From where is the like swap invitation originating?

The first thing to consider when weighing whether to partake in like/follow swapping is the origination of the invitation.  It often originates generically; e.g., in a LinkedIn group specifically formed for that purpose.  Other times the invitation is extended through well established social media authorities who do so in a good natured gesture to help followers build their own pages. The value of like or follow swap invitations can vary widely depending on their sources, since their origination is a likely predictor of subsequent behavior after the likes and follows have been swapped.

Will the like continue to add real value to your page?

Facebook like thumbThe answer to this question depends on what happens after the Facebook likes or Twitter follows are exchanged.  Does all activity end there?  Or is an effort made to take an active interest in each other’s page, adding additional value in the form of post likes and comments?  This is where the real value is imparted.

Like/follow swap invitations that are extended by well known social media authorities tend to include folks who realize that adding ongoing value to each other’s pages is weighed much more favorably by ranking algorithms than just having a higher number of page likes/follows.  These folks take the time to follow up at least a couple of times a week, visiting the pages they have liked/followed to take advantage of engagement opportunities.  In return, most see the same effort expended on behalf of their own pages. 

Is like swapping worthwhile?

The answer to this question is yes…and no.  I would advise against joining generic groups unless you know the members engage with each other’s pages afterward.  I have tried a couple myself, with the stipulation that engagement should be as reciprocal as the like or follow itself.  In every case I ultimately left the group due to lack of any activity beyond the physical like/follow.

Twitter follow buttonIf you are interested in partaking, it is best to do so when invited by a reputable professional in the social media field.  Again, these folks tend to have followers who are better versed in how to maximize the benefits of this strategy.  Make a reference list of the pages you like and follow, and visit them throughout each week.  Look for opportunities to engage, and watch for reciprocal behavior on your own page.

Are you considering/already engaging in like/follow swapping?  Please share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section below!

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Likes and Recommendations – Real, or Illusions?

October 8, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                       return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Open trenchcoat with Wanna Buy a Like sign insideWhile doing research last week to compile data for a new client’s media evaluation, I came across one of his industry competitors’ Facebook pages.  What I saw made me sit back and shake my head.  It was fairly new, having been launched about six months ago.  The first month boasted five new followers.  The second month:  23,740 new followers.  WOW!  This business must have a rocket propelled marketing department, right?  I HAD to look at the page’s activity.  There was no interaction at all; just a smattering of posts here and there about services the business offered.  Seriously; do subscribers to practices like this think we are that naïve, or are they hoping we won’t scroll far enough down their pages to see how all those likes came in one giant lump during the pages’ second month of existence?

I’m not condemning anyone personally for buying likes or followers. I’m just saying that doing so is not as covert as he/she would hope.  And considering the bulk of these bought numbers consist of phony accounts as well as disinterested people who will never engage with the page, the practice cheats him/her of business credibility.  Engagement and genuinely valuable activity define the success of a company’s social media sites, not a suddenly huge number of “fans” or “followers.”  Instead of the anticipated boost, this practice serves to negatively flag a social site; it also illustrates wasted money, since Facebook and Twitter have begun cracking down by purging phony likes and follows.

Another faux strategy has emerged recently: buying positive recommendations.  This practice evolved from do-it-yourselfers who compelled others in their employ to write glowing reviews for them.  Many of these are easily spotted for what they are, especially when they are exaggeratedly fawning.  There is actually a question of legality here, as the law requires disclosure of the circumstances behind a recommendation that is motivated by anything other than true satisfactory personal experience with a business, its product or service.

It is tough to launch a social media business.  How do we gain our footing among thousands of peers who already have established pages with huge numbers of valid fans and followers?  The temptation is great to buy ourselves an illusion of competitiveness, even temporarily while we work frantically to build our businesses legitimately.  Although we don’t like to acknowledge it, the reality is that slowly and steadily playing by the rules is the only true avenue to solid social relationships, credible business standings, and ultimately success in our fields.  The reality is also that having a couple of hundred likes who are actively engaged with us on our pages trumps thousands of silent likes.  That’s a metric that can’t be hidden; one needs only scroll down a business page to see the level and quality of activity – or lack of it.

person hawking bought likes is vanquishedPatience truly is a virtue here.  When we realize the only thing that separates our new launches from our successfully established peers is length of time investment, we may be less inclined to take shortcuts that will undoubtedly backfire with negative consequences.  At that point we should realize that taking the time to do things legitimately and correctly is the more direct route to our own successes.

What is your take on the practice of buying fans, followers and positive reviews? How do you handle new clients who want to see giant numbers of fans and followers instantly appear on their social media sites?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

See also:
Davey Winder:  “Why Buying Social Media Reviews is a Recipe for Marketing Disaster
Mallie Hart:  “ Say No to Shortcuts