The thing with social media is anybody can say anything about anybody. In some cases it's great because it overthrows governments and in some cases it sucks because people get locked up for joking about blowing up airports. Today somebody questioned our company ethics and rather than let it go as I normally do, I thought I'd address the subject and hopefully share a couple of lessons that have dawned on me today.
Here are the tweets the Mr. Primary (No idea what his name is and can't really be bothered looking).
This one is my favorite, but just to be clear it wasn't a million dollars as we use euros here in Ireland and it was actually an initial £1.7 million.
Anyway, you get the picture. Somebody with lots of time on their hands knocking about with lots of other people also with lots of time on their hands analyzing successful businesses instead of focusing on their own. I wouldn't normally answer this sort of stuff, but it actually happens to be a post I've wanted to write for a while as it is useful for readers of the blog as a couple of good learnings. So how do you get a bunch of free Facebook likes?
Just to start by prefacing the data that I am sharing here, I can only check data going back 89 days on Facebook. I've tried to fill in as much of the data myself and share what I know.
Our likes are spread out from all over the world including, as Mr. Primary correctly pointed out, some from Malaysia, China, India and a bunch of other countries and cities:
More about the countries the likes come from in a minute, but first off let's have a look at where Facebook say the likes are coming from in terms of people actually clicking the like button. Nearly all through the like box and button and the two big spikes are pieces of content on the page that have gone massively viral
How To Get A Bunch Of Free Likes
Advertising or buying likes from dodgy sites is not the only way to attract likes to your page. A couple of years ago, I was messing around here on the blog when I realized that one of our posts was getting a ton of traffic. Like an absolute avalanche of traffic. It was over 300,000 page views per month at the time. The post was one about "seeing who views your Facebook profile." It wasn't a particularly good post at all, but it just happened to rank for something that tons and tons of people all over the world were searching for. Here are some of the traffic stats for that page for a year. As you can see that single page got over half a million visitors in the space of a year. Not bad!
So the page was getting a lot of traffic, but then when I drilled down into the stats, I could see that the traffic was actually coming from all over the world and not really very relevant to us. Have a look at some of the countries in the list coming to that page from our Google Analytics account.
So here I am sitting on an absolute ton of traffic that is not very relevant to us and not knowing what to do with it. I started by slapping some ads on the page as aggressively as I possibly could, seeing as none of our normal readers would ever be visiting that page and the ads wouldn't annoy them.
Those ads on that one single page drive between â‚¬1,000-4,000 in Google adsense per month (enough to pay somebody to write full-time on the blog). Not bad for a single page on the site that is of no interest to us and buried in our archives. Being greedy, I wanted to see if I could get anything more out of the page so I placed a Facebook like box on the page that popped up after a few seconds there. The likes started flooding in. At the height, it was a couple of hundred a day.
Now the important thing to remember here is that those likes are coming from all over the world because our traffic comes from all over the world. Most of them are not massively relevant to our business, but some of them do come from markets we are in like the U.S. and as they were totally free and took no effort to generate, it was a brilliant little move. Although not all the likes are going to be relevant, a large amount of them are, meaning that they help spread our content and blog posts to a much wider audience without having to pay a penny.
Here is an overview of the engagement on our Facebook page over the last couple of months and for an agency to be able to push their brand out to 22 million friends of friends on Facebook for free all the time, it's useful no matter what way you look at it. We get queries for our services now from all over the world as a result and have clients in 10+ countries. Not all because of this, but it certainly helps.
Would I ever pay for Facebook likes from dodgy sites? Absolutely not. Pointless. The truth is we are a blog and we don't see a huge amount of traffic coming from Facebook anyway so it has never been a massive focus for us. Do people look at their agency likes when they are going to hire them? I have no idea, but I would imagine they are smart enough to look at other items. If getting hired was that simple I'd be delighted! So we do get a bunch of likes form all over the world and they all come through the blog (there is also a like box in the sidebar of the blog, which is a huge contributor).
At a rough guess we have about 14-17k likes on the Facebook page coming from that pop up box and the rest of the likes come internationally through the blog and people reading the content there. So for what it's worth, go and get a Facebook like button or box for your website and put it on a very trafficked page or multiple pages if possible. Not exactly rocket science.
Dealing With Trolls
We've always dealt with people asking questions about our company and it actually delights me apart from when people start questioning your ethics. That makes me want to defend the amazing people I work with and have their back and that is why I made the one exception of stooping down to their level with this post. I'm not even a tiny bit mad with Mr. Primary as I just wish he would focus on building his own business and growing beyond the safe niche he lives in.
I know people would love to think that you wake up, buy 20k Facebook likes and sell your company a few months later because that is the way they see the world. If it was that easy, I'd go straight out and buy 500k Facebook likes tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, it just takes days of hard work and long hours working with clients instead of trawling through agency Facebook pages. What people like Mr. Primary need to do is start focusing on their own business as hard as they do on others and really try the hard job of growing beyond the safety net of calling out the faults of others. The feeling of hiring people and building something that people talk about is always going to be better than trying to pick holes in somebody else's business.
I absolutely hate having to go down to the level of dealing with people like this because I normally ignore it, but when somebody questions your ethics, make things up about you and generally try to make themselves look like the big lad, you have to stand up to them.
For what it's worth, their company only have 750 odd likes on Facebook. I defo wouldn't do a business with a company with that few Facebook likes.