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Should You “Buy” Facebook Fans?

Dear Copy Bitch: We just launched a company fan page on Facebook. I recently connected with someone who said he could get me 500 fans in a week for a reasonable price. Right now, I’m at 63 fans. Should I do it?

—Fanless in Florida

Answer: I’d much rather grow my fan base organically. And yes, that means it will likely be small for a while. Remember why you’re doing this in the first place: at the end of the day, it’s about having a conversation with your customers and potential customers. I’d much rather have a hardcore fan base of 500 people, most of whom are customers, than a fan base of 5000 people, most of whom have never (and probably will never) buy from me. If you’re truly a fan of a brand, I suspect you’ll fan that page, even if the fan base is small. The hardcore fan base will probably be more active on your page (if you engage them…don’t forget, social media is a two-way street), which will attract more fans.

I actually faced this issue with a client a couple of weeks ago. She’s an etailer with two stores, and we just launched a fan page for her newer store. She tried the “buy-me-some-fans” model, and oh man, did she get them: sketchy fans, fans in far flung countries, and fans with profile pictures that were, um, questionable. (Prediction: Fans-for-sale operations are the new link farms.) My client learned her lesson. We’re now back to a smaller base, but a real fan base. And these real fans are responding and engaging with us on the page.