Faking Social Signals

With Googles 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 would Google focus their next algorithm update on next. The survey 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. You can find Distilled’s blog post here; it is definitely worth a read.

Our prediction is that Google is going to crack down on social err fake social signals, otherwise known as buying Facebook likes, YouTube viewers, Twitter followers and even Instagram buddies for your brand! This is not to be confused with using Facebook’s ad platform to buy a like. That is a targeted advertisement which people are choosing to click like because they find your brand or content interesting.

What we mean by buying Facebook likes is paying someone say $30 to get 1000 likes. The strategy behind trying to quickly amass a tonne of ‘interest’ in your site is sound – as more social likes usually equates to more trust for any real potential customers that come across you. They may be fake profiles but even if they are real people it is very unlikely 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 firm best practice on.

  1. You have 10,000 Facebook likes but no engagement. Does this make you look big time or like a boring brand? If you have 10,000 likes but cannot get more than 10 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 actually try to leverage your followers via a contest and you get zero participation – how does this make prospective customers feel about your credibility? This is especially true if you are in the service industry serving other businesses – if you are willing to risk the credibility of your own brand, why should any other company risk giving you their trust.

It’s one thing to have a lot of fans, but an entirely different thing to have truly engaged fans that participate in what you have to say. Facebook should be used 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.

Interestingly enough, we have found with clients in small niches to have more success in terms of actionable referrals than those in broader markets – such as SEO (like us) without serious investment in terms 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… well… ahem.. fake.

Dan Goldstein

Dan Goldstein

Director, Client Marketing

Dan lives and breaths all things marketing and all things tech. He has spent the last 10 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 in order to achieve their next level of growth and set the roadmap for continued success. After hours you will normally find Dan experimenting in the kitchen or out exercising with his wife and pup.