The C4 programme Dispatches recently ran a story about how brands use fake Facebook fans, and paid for celebrity endorsements via Twitter, to boost their appeal. Effective in the short term, maybe (as long as nobody notices), but sustainable marketing? Probably not! You can watch the programme on 4OD until the end of the month:
3 things came out of the programme for me:
- If nobody realises you are doing it, (sadly) it works! A Facebook page with 5,000 likes will carry more weight than one with 5 likes, and a Tweet from a celebrity or influential person in your field about your product/service will drive people to your website.
- When people realise that you are doing it, it can destroy the trustworthiness of a brand
- In most cases brands undertake this activity unwittingly, by naively believing social media agencies who claim to be able to quickly boost like numbers and relatively low cost!
This activity is no different form the practice a few years ago of buying links to boost SEO performance. And we all know where that has gone, with site owners now desperately trying to disavow all these bogus links! Agencies who were selling links last year, are now selling facebook likes, and next year will be selling something else, equally valueless in the medium term. Good, sustainable marketing takes time & effort, but need not cost the earth. When done well will deliver real results in the long term. On the flip side, buying into the lastest on-line marketing “magic wand” may seem a great idea at the time, but history shows that either it won’t work, or you will live regret it.