Faking Social Signals

by | Nov 13, 2012 | Digital Marketing

With Google’s release of the disavow tool, the web marketing industry is, as usual, collectively thinking towards what could be next.

Distilled released a blog post focused around a survey they did asking SEO professionals what Google would focus their next algorithm update on next. The study had one clear result that most SEO professionals believe that Google will crack down on fake social signals next. We believe strongly in this as well.

We predict that Google is going to crack down on fake social signals, such as buying Facebook likes, YouTube viewers, Twitter and Instagram followers! Buying counterfeit likes is not to be confused with using Facebook’s ad platform to buy likes. That is a targeted advertisement that people are choosing to click like because they find your brand or content interesting.

What we mean by buying Facebook likes is paying someone $30 to get 1000 likes. The strategy behind trying to quickly amass a tonne of ‘interest’ in your site is sound. More social likes usually equate to more trust for any real potential customers that come across you. Even if they are real people, it is improbable they will have any interest in your brand or the content you distribute. That is an important fact when determining the validity of your social signals.

However, there are some potential risks that we wanted to layout for your consideration without providing a best practice.

  1. You have 10,000 Facebook likes but no engagement. Does this make you look larger than you are or a boring brand? If you have 10,000 likes but cannot get more than ten people interacting with your brand – that sends a red flag not only to Google but to your real users.
  2. You have 10,000 followers but are putting out lame blog posts, half-assed infographics and even worse videos! Does this make you look worthy of any interest at all?
  3. When it comes time to try to leverage your followers via a contest, and you get zero participation – how does this make prospective customers feel about your credibility? If you are willing to risk the credibility of your brand, why should any other company risk giving you their trust?

It’s one thing to have many fans, but an entirely different thing to have genuinely engaged fans that participate in what you have to say. Facebook should be more than just a bragging tool of accomplishments but to foster a conversation with your users. Having said that posting your accomplishments is still a good thing because it can build credibility and trust.

Businesses in small niches have more success for referrals than those in broader markets. Companies in niches can get referrals without serious investment of time and money to build an audience who sees the value in being inside the inner circle.

Before you make the leap and buy anonymous social interest, take a moment and think how the above fits in with your potential plans for social/ content marketing.

With each new like on Facebook, costing just $.60 plus a bit of elbow grease to put out blog articles likes these – we have chosen slow and steady over fast and fake.

Dan Goldstein

Dan Goldstein


Dan lives and breaths all things marketing and all things tech. He has spent the last ten years helping B2B focused organizations startup, expand and scale. Dan and his team at Neumarkets help B2B companies ramp up customer acquisition and customer lifetime value to achieve their next level of growth and set the roadmap for continued success. After hours you will typically find Dan experimenting in the kitchen or out exercising with his wife and pup. See all of Dan's posts here.