Sometimes, when fan growth on your company's Facebook page is ticking along rather slowly, it can be tempting to investigate companies that can help you just buy new fans. Yes, they do exist, and they make all kinds of promises about being able to procure "targeted fans," fast growth, and more.
However, if you comb the web for reviews of fan-buying companies, you'll find that there is a very clear difference between true fans and "vanity fans." Here are some of the key differences between the two:
- True fans tend to engage in meaningful interaction with you on your page, while vanity fans may not interact at all, or worse, leave strange commentary on your wall.
- True fans are genuinely interested in your product and/or service, and are more likely to become brand ambassadors for you, spreading the gospel of your company to other people who might also become fans. Vanity fans may have been paid to fan your page (or they may be junk profiles), and therefore have little incentive to recruit other potential fans.
- True fans are more likely than vanity fans to be in the proper geographical locations and demographics to actually become customers.
The bottom line here is perfectly summed up by Graeme Olsen Southwest eCommerce:
"Sometimes when you've started a new Facebook fan page, and you want some fan numbers to make it look more reputable, then you may wish to consider purchasing some fans. For example, you may feel that when someone visits your Facebook fan page, they are more likely to interact or join if they see 1000 fans instead of 3 fans.
But because purchased fans will never be as loyal as real fans, you should view them as just number builders (that is, just there to make your initial page look better). For that reason, you should source them as cheap as possible."
Still need a little more convincing that buying fans may not be as beneficial as it sounds? Check out this great article from Practical eCommerce.