What is “Quality Content”?

It’s the buzzword that’s on every social media marketer’s vocabulary: Quality Content. But what exactly does it mean? There’s no magic formula that will make every post you make instantly popular, because “quality” is a completely subjective term that’s dependent on your target audience. That’s right, you don’t decide whether or not the things you post are considered “quality content”, that status is given by the people who access that content and deem it “quality” enough to share with their friends. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re not adhering to your personal concept of quality content; you are always creating it for your readers and consumers. This means you have to be wary of your use of language, images, and post frequency. Vary and adjust your vocabulary to match your audience and post where they post most often.

So how do you define quality content? Do you gauge its worth by Likes or Shares? Or do you delve deeper and look at how long someone stayed at your article, whether or not they scrolled all the way down, etc? All of these are valid markers of quality content, but whether or not the marker applies with change from post to post.

Combating Fake Likes Starts With You

What’s more important to you: the number of likes you receive on your post or page, or the quality of the people who like your content? At first glance it might seem like the two are one and the same – post good content and the likes will come. However, there are some people and businesses out there who value popularity over content, vying for larger numbers rather than fostering a growing community. Rather than engage with existing customers, they opt for a shortcut: buying Likes.

To the average user, the business of buying Likes on Facebook might seem like a rare and shallow practice, but in reality it is rife amongst small businesses who don’t understand the nuances of social media. Yes, a larger number of Likes will give you an air of legitimacy, but you must understand one thing: fake likes cannot be undone. Not without Facebook’s auto-filters catching them and deleting them. And in the long run, it will only hurt your businesses, because social media revolves around one core mechanic: being social. You can’t be social with dummy accounts.

So what does a typical fake Like account look like? At first glance it will look like a normal user with a profile picture, cover photo, an about section – all the trappings of a real live person. But take a look at their timeline and you will notice one trend: the account has hundreds, maybe even thousands of pages that it Liked but hardly any personally posted content. These “interests” the account has accrued has no rhyme or reason, as they are used and reused until they are flagged and deleted.

How does this harm your business? Facebook’s algorithms take into account many deciding factors in your followers’ demographic, including age, gender, geographical location, and interests. By analyzing this data, the site decides whether or not your posted content is relevant to them, which in turn affects your organic reach (unpaid visits/views dished out to your followers). If your followers are mostly fake, then you are reaching, or attempting to reach, fake accounts. You will find no business there. As a result, your engagement suffers, and your overall page suffers.

What can you do about this? Just don’t buy Likes. You’d literally be throwing money away by actively participating in a scam. While you’re at it, file this under “worst practices”.

More Likes Than Friends – The Truth About Facebook Likes

Facebook_like_thumbWhat if I told you I could get you a hundred followers on your Facebook page in under an hour? How about two hundred? Five hundred? Would you believe me if I told you I could get you 1000 followers, and you won’t even have to lift a finger? It’s true. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. This is called “Like Inflation”. While it forced social media industry to focus more on engagement, it has become a self-inflicted wound in the social strategies of companies who see large numbers of followers and likes as the bottom line.

It’s an easy trap to fall into. You are a small company or just someone who wants to launch a social media page or account in hopes of getting attention from potential fans and followers. The problem is that without a large following to begin with, you think people won’t take you seriously, or worse, fail to recognize the legitimacy of your page or company. So you reach out to a company or person who can guarantee thousands of likes and followers for a small sum of money. The truth is they can deliver on their promises. Most of these services come from India where, for a small fee, several workers will log in and out of thousands of accounts to add likes or followers to your social media accounts. More efficient “companies” will have computers set up to automate this process. Your accounts will explode with false popularity literally overnight! The problem is the aftermath.

fb-edgerankSocial networks have advanced algorithms, like Facebook’s EdgeRank, that determine the “worth” of your posts by measuring the quality and frequency of engagement with followers, fans, and communities. The more engagement you have on your accounts, the better your posts and ads will do on news feeds an ad space. With Like Inflation, your accounts are suddenly littered with thousands of dummy accounts that have no real history of engagement or even real people behind the accounts at all! They are profiles made by a single person or corporate entity for the express purpose of selling likes and followers to small businesses hoping to gain an edge over their competitors, or simply to give the impression of popularity. Now when it comes time to spend some money on actual advertising, a vast majority of the news feeds you reach belongs to these empty, personless accounts. By the numbers, you’ve reached THOUSANDS of people, but of those thousands, a tiny percentage will respond. To the algorithms, your dismal engagement rate makes your posts very unimportant, which diminishes your social media strategies. In short, a short term solution will become a deep hole from which you’ll have to work much harder to escape.

logo1There are also online services like AddMeFast that advertise “Like Sharing”. You open an account and submit links from your social media pages that you want people to like or follow. By liking or following other users’ submitted links, you are granted points that act as currency, which you then spend when someone likes or follows the links you submitted. Users set the “cost” of their links between 1 and 10, and the higher point values are assigned greater priority. Sound like a great idea? Like and share with other active users – what harm can come of it? Well, it hardly stops anyone from creating dummy accounts simply to rack up points for their own links. And since any link can be submitted by anyone, you can even use “Like Inflation” to foil the social media strategies of your competitors. In my personal experience, services like AddMeFast are driven by selfish motivations, not active communities; there is no search function or filters for any of the links. They are randomly generated and serve no other function than being an AddMeFast ATM.

declineIf you find yourself in such a hole, there are some ways you can reclaim a foothold over your social media influence. One such way is paid advertising. By targeting the interests of your intended followers and creating visually appealing ads, you can increase the popularity of your social media accounts and direct traffic to your sites and landing pages. However, it might be very costly to maintain this strategy considering the time it takes to gather enough active users. A less costly method is reaching out to your customer base through email marketing. Many of these people may already be followers, but it’s worth it to reach out to those who haven’t responded yet and give them a little nudge toward your online presence. Although you pay for the mass email service, this method might be the closest thing you have to significant organic reach.

At the end of the day, it’s tempting to turn to an easy fix for the lack of social media presence, but they are short term solutions. Very short term. The whole point of social media marketing, the very essence of it is to be SOCIAL. Injecting fake accounts into your social pages is the same as filling an auditorium with mannequins for a lecture, then wondering why no one’s responding. You’re perfectly free to do it, but it will be a detriment in the long run.