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Small business owners beware: Facebook ads convert to fake Likes

On Saturday, Business Insider reported on Raaj Kapur Brar, a successful small business owner, about his Facebook Ad disaster. He has done the math. And, according to his calculations, Facebook is trying to jip him for $600,000.

Fake Likes can render your Facebook Business Page completely useless.
Page by Duncan Hull - Facebook "Like" buttons by Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal

That’s the amount Facebook billed Brar for because of Facebook ads. These days, Facebook ads include those ‘Suggested Pages’ and ‘Suggested Posts’ in the right hand corner. The online fashion magazines empire owner says these ads generated so many ‘Likes’ that his Pages are now completely useless.

Brar, whose small business is based just outside of Toronto, says he’s not going to pay it. His online titles didn’t generate anywhere near enough revenue to cover the $600,000 Facebook bill. He doesn’t feel he should have to pay for the fake Likes his Pages generated due to placing the social media ads.

So, now he has to suffer the consequences of having a delinquent bill with Facebook. His credit with the social media conglomerate is ruined.

How Do Fake Facebook Likes Hurt Business Pages?

Why does Brar believe his Facebook Pages were contaminated with thousands of fake likes? What’s the big deal with fake likes?

Fake Accounts Don’t Engage

Well, to begin, the accounts appear to be bogus. The majority of them have no profile pictures and no or very little profile information. Profile owners are usually based in far away, developing countries.

And, they have very few Facebook friends, which they never engage with anyway. Therefore, they’re useless to business Pages, because they don’t engage there either. Once the Page is liked, they never return again.

Not Target Market Audience

Facebook promises that their Page Likes will allow small business owners to ‘connect with more of the people who matter to you.’ When it comes to the term ‘quality Likes’, this means gaining fans who are interested followers.

Instead, these businesses are paying for Facebook fans in places like India and other countries that have no interest in the brands they’re ‘liking.’ And, the majority believe that most may not be real people anyway. This is just not something small business owners feel they should have to pay for in ads.

Useless Lead Conversions

The whole point of placing social media ads is to get some type of valuable lead conversions. In most cases, the plan is for the process to go something like this:

  • Facebook ad catches user’s attention
  • User clicks on the ad, which links to the business’ Page
  • If they like what they see, they ‘Like’ the Facebook Page
  • Posts onto the Page now show in the user’s timeline
  • They engage with the Page through likes, comments and shares
  • Eventually, they visit the company’s website or blog

From there, the sky is the limit. Blog followers begin reading posts and engaging there. Posts get shared on social media sites. Comments are left by followers. High levels of trust are created. Products and services are purchased, completing the lead conversion process.

Negative Effects of Bogus Facebook Fans

However, in the case of bogus Facebook fans, small businesses end up with a quiet Page with thousands of useless followers. For businesses with paid Facebook ads, this translates to paying to advertise to an audience of people who will never click ‘buy now.’

And, that’s why Brar is refusing to pay the $600,000 advertising bill from Facebook.

In November 2013, Marketing Land reported on the 25 million small business Facebook Pages. Facebook themselves told Dreamforce conference attendees that this represents the number of active business Pages. Most are not sophisticated marketing experts or experiences advertisers. They are simply giving Facebook their credit cards numbers, and letting the social network run the show.

The problem is that the ads are not generating real, live humans to 'like' the Pages. And, when they do, they're in no way connected to what the advertisers would consider their 'target markets.'

Not to mention, the small business owners are complaining that the more phony Likes they generate, the more engagement decreases on their Pages. Yet, their revenue isn’t increasing from the expensive ads. All the 'suggestive links' seem to be doing is consuming entire marketing budgets.

Tips to Ensure Your Facebook Ads Generate Useful Likes

To this day, Brar has been unable to distinguish between real fans and bogus Likes. And, since you have to remove them manually, one-by-one, the whole Facebook ad disaster has rendered his Pages useless.

So, it’s important that all small business owners placing ads on Facebook understand how to ensure the links bring in quality leads. Here are a few tips for monitoring your Facebook ad leads:

  1. Use Google Analytics to analyze where your ad leads are coming from geographically. Check your Analytics multiple times per day while your ads are running.
  2. If you start to notice that most of your leads are coming from third-world countries and far-away lands, pause your ads immediately.
  3. Make sure to place your ads with very low budgets. Never spend your entire advertising budget on one ad campaign until you’ve had time to test it thoroughly.
  4. Continue interacting and engaging your Facebook audience, and grow your Pages naturally. Then, make sure to utilize all of the free online advertising resources before you jump into paid advertising, Fore more information, check out my article, 8 ways to advertise locally for free online.
  5. When you're ready to pay for advertising on Facebook, think about outsourcing your social media advertising campaigns to an online marketing company you can trust. It’s their duty to monitor the analytics of your ad campaigns to ensure that Facebook is not flooding your Page with fake Likes.
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