Why is it a very bad idea to buy fake fans & followers on Instagram and Facebook

August 4, 2017

Buying fake Facebook and Instagram Fans will hurt your business

As we help more customers in UAE with Digital Marketing and web-enabling their business, we are sad to know the number of businesses that fell into the trap of shady digital marketing companies that sell them into the idea of buying fake fans and followers for their business pages on Facebook and Instagram. Fake Fans and followers not only will not benefit you, but they will also hurt your business, up to the level of making your business page completely disappear from people's newsfeed on Facebook and Instagram. Here is why:

Let's start with what Facebook says about fake fans:

"Facebook takes into account Page engagement rates when deciding when and where to deliver a Page's legitimate ads and content, so Pages with artificially inflated like counts are harming themselves, making it harder and more expensive to reach the people they care about most."

..... from Facebook for the Business guideline on fake fans

Why businesses are buying fake fans and followers?

A lot of business owners have decided the best way to show that they are popular and credible is to have a high number of fans and followers on their Facebook pages. This wrong perception has been enforced by shady digital marketing companies trying to make money without regard to how much this will hurt their customers by selling fake fans and followers for as little as $100 for 5000 fans.

Even without fake followers, it is becoming harder and harder for businesses to show their products and promotions on the Facebook newsfeed and Instagram storyboard. There are two main reasons causing that:

  1. Facebook is now a pay-per-play for businesses. Gone are the days where a business can create a Facebook page, gather fans with a level of assurance that 80% or more of page fans will see your posts. To increase their revenue, Facebook is encouraging businesses to buy promoted posts and ads to reach their target audience. There is nothing free in this world! especially a business page on Facebook and Instagram!
  2. There is simply too much content being posted on Facebook and Instagram by businesses and individuals, make it harder for businesses to reach their audience.

This was stated clearly by Brian Boland, Facebook's VP of Advertising Technology:

“Over the past few months, I’ve read articles and answered questions from many people who are concerned about declines in organic reach for their Facebook Pages….. First, there's simply too much content being published on Facebook, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive. Second, Facebook is deliberately trying to show people the content that is most relevant to them, as opposed to surfacing all the content available "

So even without the fake fans and followers issue, your free posts on Facebook will probably show to less than 5% of your followers. But with fake followers, you are making it impossible for genuine followers and fans to see your free posts.

But what is a fake Fan or a fake follower?

If your business is in the UAE, a fake fan is someone who resides outside the United Arab Emirates. has a generic profile picture, no posts, activity, and friends. But they’ve liked and followed a very large number of business pages.

How fake fans and fake followers will hurt your business?

So If you buy 5,000 fake followers and Facebook or Instagram delivers your post to 10% of them, which is about 500 fans, but none of those ever engages with the post by liking the post, commenting, or sharing, then the Facebook algorithm will begin to suspect that your fans may not be real. With zero engagement day after day and month after month, it will make your page drop in Facebook and Instagram rankings and will eventually disappear from Facebook search.

The reason Facebook and Instagram algorithm works like that is that they want to keep delivering interesting and socially engaging content to their users so they can keep them around instead of going to competing for social platforms like Snapchat or Pinterest. So Facebook & Instagram keep updating their algorithms to make sure that they deliver content that their users will like "You may have noticed that the more you like a post or comment on a certain page, this page post will show more and more in your newsfeed".

What should you do to build a successful Social Media pages that can drive leads to your business?

1- Remove all fake fans from your pages. It is a long process, but very rewarding in the long term.

2- Don't only post advertisements and products on your page. Apply the 80/20 rule where 80% of your post should be a socially engaging content and 20% advertisements.

3- Mobilize your workforce, your friends, family, and colleges to like, comment, and share your content to help improve your ranking with Facebook and Instagram algorithm. You may be lucky with one or two posts that they become viral.

4- Always link your post to your website. Setup Google Analytics on your website so you can monitor traffic and social engagement (figure 1 and 2).

Example of Google Analytics Tracking
Figure 1: Google Analytics tracking to understand the sources of your traffic.

Google Analytics Storat Social Sources
Figure 2: Google Analytics tracking to understand the sources of your traffic.

5- As stated earlier, Facebook and Instagram are a pay-per-play. So you are encouraged to use social media promotions to reach more followers outside your network. However, Facebook and Instagram advertisement platform is becoming more complex to use if you want to reach the targeted audience, drive conversions, or do segmented targeting. For that, you can depend on a real digital marketing company with certified experts in social media promotion.

6- Build a Website for your business as a cornerstone of your online presence. Our single best advice to all businesses in UAE is that while social media is a great medium to drive traffic, but it is not a substitute for building your own website at your own domain with your own identity. You need a place to drive that traffic to where that place is exclusive for your brand and business. At your own website, you can capture your customer's attention and deliver your messages to them. No wonder businesses with websites and digital marketing strategies are able to convert online traffic to business 40 times more than businesses without!

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