Published Jun 3. 2017 - 4 months ago
Updated or edited Jun 4. 2017

To like or not to like

Facebook is a strange universe. A fantastic resource and at the same time a source of endless, useless noise.

Money can buy you love
Money can buy you love
Martin Joergensen

I have been on Facebook for a while now. Since the beginning of 2012 as far as can tell from scrolling back through my posts.
The Global FlyFisher is also on Facebook as an entity. I added a GFF account at the same time in order to separate it from my personal account. Apart from that I also have a Danish language account that I use for my non-fishing, personal, family and business stuff in Danish, so I'm quite the split personality of Facebook.

Got used to it

I have gotten used to the eternal banter, noise and absolutely useless posts that's a part of Facebook, and managed to get my timeline filtered down to something, which is mainly fly fishing and fly tying. That is what I'm there for.
I'm into politics and opinion, but only very rarely post political content. I might post a single non-fly fishing thing now and then: sailing in our boat, a tip for a particularly delicious meal, something interesting from Denmark, a fun experience or whatnot, but I try to keep the noise level low and the relevant content level high. When I post I generally ask myself “Will the people I am in contact with find this interesting?”. If the answer is ”no”, I don't post.

Reaching people

I have about 1,700 contacts (AKA “friends”) on Facebook, which is quite overwhelming and actually really nice. I enjoy most of the things they post and get a lot of ideas, entertainment and nice stuff to look at and a chance to follow the many of my “real” friends that I'm in contact with on Facebook.
The Global FlyFisher has a number of likes about similar to my number of contacts, currently about 1,600.
I post the new content from the Global FlyFisher on Facebook. Usually on the GFF account. A typical GFF post may reach a few hundred to a few thousand people who get a nudge to go see some great content. I don't do much to increase the number. I sometimes promote the site on Facebook by cross posting in in a few groups and sharing on my own timeline. I rarely do more than that. I sure as *beep* don't pay Facebook or anybody else to do it.
I don't run share/like/love/adore/worship-us campaigns or competitions to entice people to like the site for no other reason than the (very remote) chance of winning a T-shirt, a few flies, a space shuttle or some other item. If people like GFF, it's their own decision to extend that attraction onto their Facebook account.

I don't run share/like/love/adore/worship-us campaigns or competitions

Them and us
Them and us
Martin Joergensen

100,000 likes...?!

This blog post was actually sparked by an FB post from a small and totally unknown fly business who was celebrating their 100,000 likes. 100,000...?! One hundred thousand! Like whaddayasay!? Their name shall remain unknown, but trust me: you would probably not recognize it.
I tried to compare that number to the absolutely most popular brand pages and fly-fishing “celebrities” I have connection with or could think of.
Companies like Abel Reels (6,700 likes), Waterworks-Lamson (also 6,700), Whiting Farms (3,300 likes), Renzetti (2,000 likes).
Folks like Davie McPhail, Bob Popovics, Bob Clouser, who have typically reached the default max of Facebook friends, which is 5,000 – a limit set by Facebook for personal accounts.
So what makes 100,000 people like a small, remote and totally unknown fly-fishing company?
Yeah, it smells fishy – and I'm not talking the posts.

Money might buy you love

Of course a hundred thousand likes can be the result of great marketing, nice products and lots of acitivity. Doing giveaways and getting people to like and share in order to win free stuff can bring you far, but still 100,000 likes and a share number of maybe 5-10,000 is out of this world when it comes to the fly fishing industry.
The way a small and unknown company gets 100,000 likes is simply by buying them! Do a search for the words “buy facebook likes”, and you will get links to sites with names such as SocialBoost, Pro Facebook Likes or BuySocial (made up names), all announcing likes by the thousands, ten thousands or even hundred thousands. Some even quote a price. As little as 15 or 18 US$ for 1,000 or even 40-50 US$ for 10,000 likes on Facebook.
What you get for your money is fake Facebook users. Empty shells. Ghosts. They have no posts, no activity, don't share or like anything and altogether don't do anything other than boosting your like count and gain you some attention… and that's not even quite true, because they actually damage your ranking and placement on the timelines and walls off the few real people who genuinely like your page.

Punishment

Facebook uses some pretty intricate and complex algorithms to position posts on the pages, and having a shallow and inactive group of followers, even 100,000 of them, will most likely mean that you get punished rather than rewarded for the many pseudo-fans.
Looking into just a small fraction of the above 100,000 fans, you will probably see a surprising number that has no profile as such, but a colossal number of posts about online games, betting, dating and assorted similar products.
So the number might impress, but it represents nothing but online zombies with no real activity.
100,000 page likes, but a post of theirs gets about 20 likes and 2 shares… what's wrong with this picture? In Facebook lingo it's called engagement – or here lack of same. A typical 100K page liked by real people will get about 1,000 likes and maybe 50-200 shares on a popular post.
I'm not saying you can't rig the system, but it's not as easy as just paying.

Attracting people

The way to attract people is to post something that people want to see and share. Useful, interesting, beautiful, fascinating, funny. Or to be famous of course, but few people in the fly-fishing community are A-list celebrities.
I follow people who fly-fish and like pages with good fly fishing content. Some people are well known in the community, some are people just like you and me. Some of the pages are commercial, some are groups of people with common interests.
Those who just post viral links, memes, political banter and other irrelevant content, I simply unfollow. I get enough spam and vile as it is from other channels, and want to keep my Facebook feed free of such things. Landscapes, fishing trips, fish, nice flies and the occasional personal post from a close or remote friend is what I want.

PS: Since I started writing this a couple of months ago, the company in question – whose name I shall not mention – has gained almost 30,000 followers, and now has 129,648 likes! One telltale of something smelly going on, is that one week they gain 900 new users and the next week it's a flat zero.

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