Pros and Cons of Buying Facebook Likes (through targeted Facebook ads)

facebook limiting posts

Facebook is an excellent marketing tool for creatives. Most artists, writers, comedians, and small businesses worth their salt have their own “fan page” or “business page” on Facebook, each with several thousand “likes.” Facebook allows you to post photos, share updates, and personally connect with your followers.

The merits of having your own Facebook page are obvious. However… what happens when you’re starting out and your Facebook page has less than 100 likes? It can be a huge turn-off for potential clients.

The simple answer is to just “buy” likes on Facebook. Facebook allows you to create highly targeted ads at any price point. “Buying” likes seems to be the easiest way to legitimize your business straight away.

Note – we’re talking about “buying” likes by paying Facebook to run targeted ads promoting your Facebook page.

You’re not actually paying, for example, $10 for 100 new likes. That is against Facebook’s rules. If Facebook catches you doing this, they will disable your account.

With these Facebook ads, one day you might get 100 likes for $10; the next day you might only get 73 likes for the same $10. It all depends on who clicks through.

facebook limiting posts


However, like any ‘simple answer,’ it’s really not that simple. There are several pros and cons for “buying” likes on Facebook.

The Pros:

  1. It legitimizes your page. It’s really difficult to trust a product or service that only has 40 likes. When you’re just starting out, getting those first hundred likes is incredibly difficult and (in some cases) nearly impossible. A true fanbase takes time to build and, if you don’t have time, Facebook ads can be a handy shortcut. Running Facebook ads until you’re in the 400 – 500 “likes” ballpark, so your product or service looks more legitimate, is a great way to build your brand.
  2. You can get new (real) fans. Of course, many of the people who like your page through Facebook ads will have absolutely no interest in it. It’s unfortunate, but it can’t be helped.
    Even if 50% of your new likes are duds, a fair percentage of your new fans will actually commit to, promote, and buy whatever you’re selling (regardless of whether it’s an actual product, a blog, or funny Youtube videos).
  3. It’s not expensive. You can run ads for as little as $1 a day. Even if you’re a low-budget, independent business owner, you can still take advantage of Facebook’s affordable pricing policy.
  4. It is completely legal. Running Facebook ads to increase the number of likes on your page is completely legal. Going through a third party that promises to deliver X number of likes for Y amount of money by day Z, on the other hand, will get you banned.


The Cons:

  1. Most of the people who “like” your page don’t actually care about your product/service.
  2. It prevents your “true fans” from seeing your posts. Depending on the number of people who like your page, only a small percentage of them will actually be able to see your posts. Facebook claims that your posts will organically be able to reach 16% of your fans. Many people have found the number much smaller.
    If you have 100 engaged “real likes” and 2000 “paid by Facebook ads” likes (assuming only 10% of those new likes will become “real fans”), you have a page where only 14% of your followers actually care about your product or service.
    Assuming 16% of your total fans will see a post, that means, on average, only about 2% of your “real fans” will see each post.
    That’s not good for your business. On the outside, having lots of likes on Facebook might make your page look good, but it can seriously hurt your fan base.
  1. Your page engagement will be low. If your posts are only reaching 2% of your fans, that can hurt your engagement.
    If you have 2100 likes on Facebook, but your updates and photos are only gathering half a dozen responses, that’s a dead giveaway your like count was inflated.

Paying to run Facebook ads is a safe, legal, and easy way to get more “likes” for your page and legitimize your business. However, like all things in life, it does have a down-side. Be careful.

If done in moderation, “buying” Facebook likes can help, but if you go overboard, it can end up seriously hurting your business.


Grace Buchele Mineta is a quirky Texan freelancer, living in Tokyo with her Japanese salaryman husband. She runs the blog “Texan in Tokyo”, where she draws comics about her daily life as a newlywed navigating silly cultural misunderstandings as an interracial couple.


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