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#Facebook Fakes: Did You Lose Fans?

Yesterday, Facebook confirmed that it was indeed purging fake accounts and page likes from the system. According to Josh Constine of TechCrunch, “Illegitimately created accounts are being deleted, and Likes gained from malware, compromised accounts, or deceived users are being removed.”

Business pages with huge fan numbers could have seen losses of hundreds to thousands of fans.  For many businesses, this sort of thing could be panic inducing.  But let’s take just a moment to understand a social media reality.

A fan or follower count is a raw number with very little real meaning or intrinsic value.

Ruminate on that for just a moment. A steadily climbing fan count makes us feel good, and that’s about all its really good for. Its a number that’s easy for community managers and marketers to point to and tell decision makers that somebody (lots of somebodies) is paying attention. It makes us feel good. It makes us feel as though the time we’ve spent curating that account has been worthwhile.

The bitter pill of reality is that, on their own, such numbers are completely useless.

A raw head count tells us nothing of the quality of the people (hopefully people) we are connected to. Fake accounts and bots don’t spend money, they don’t make recommendations, and they cannot do anything to improve the bottom line.

Business users of Facebook should be rejoicing rather than panicking. Thanks to Facebook’s integrity improvements, marketers can be a bit more certain that the numbers that really matter aren’t being skewed. Let me give you an example in nice, round, easy-to-digest numbers.

Let’s say that your fan count on your Facebook page hit 100,000 last month. Everybody had been patting themselves on the back for reaching that many people, until the rest of the numbers were crunched and you discovered that only 10 percent of all those people were actively clicking links to the e-commerce pages on your website.

Then the purge happened yesterday, and the Facebook page fan count contracted to 80,000, but your click-through to e-commerce remained at about 10,000. The overinflation of the page’s fan count caused plenty of backslapping, but did nothing for the growth of the business.

It’s not about having lots of great numbers. It’s about having numbers with lots of great meaning. Social marketers cannot continue to sell businesses on strategies that stroke ego and nothing more. And claiming that having a social presence is as necessary as having a telephone system, is as useful to achieving a return on investment as arguing the need for a carpenter to have both a hammer and a screwdriver. They are all just tools and will continue to be completely worthless until placed into the hands of a skilled craftsman.

 #Facebook Fakes: Did You Lose Fans?
Michelle is the co-host of the popular Social Media discussion group #SocialChat, blogger, and Social Media Advocate/Consultant +Michelle Stinson Ross
 #Facebook Fakes: Did You Lose Fans?
 #Facebook Fakes: Did You Lose Fans?

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11 thoughts on “#Facebook Fakes: Did You Lose Fans?

  1. Yeah I lost a page with over 40,000 fans on it a few weeks ago. No email no warning no nothing. Just woke up and it was gone.

    Massive blow to my blog traffic from that page!

  2. I have 93,000 fake fans acquired by Facebook advertising and I haven’t lost ONE of them, guess they are leaving the ones we paid for already. This is a smoke screen to hide the real problem in their advertising system.

  3. Thank you for posting this! We were certainly panicking today about this quick negative change to our fan count. Feel a bit better now.

  4. “A fan or follower count is a raw number with very little real meaning or intrinsic value.”

    That’s exactly how I feel. Maybe when you’re first starting out on Facebook the fan/follower account is good to keep track of, but after a while it’s just a number. I’d rather have 10 fans that were really engaged than 100 fans that Liked my page and never came back.

    1. Right on, Nick!

      Sure, there is a need for enough mass on Facebook to generate social gravity. But mass is not the name of the game. Its the price of admission. To continue orbiting in the universe, the community has to generate engagement that drives traffic into a business relationship.

    1. Sure, there is a need for enough mass on Facebook to generate social gravity. But mass is not the name of the game. Its the price of admission. To continue orbiting in the universe, the community has to generate engagement that drives traffic into a business relationship.

  5. Yesterday my page went from 10900 to 7202 and I did facebook advertising. So I find this bad Buisness on face books behalf They had no problem taking my money for all the adds tho. They should return my money because I haven’t received any Buisness whatsoever from any add along with this is even more evidence that Facebook is using bots.