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If you’ve ever tried creating a social media page for your company or launching an online business, you know how important it is to get that first little boost of momentum. Maybe your milestone is a hundred likes on Facebook or a thousand views on YouTube, or perhaps you just want someone popular to retweet you (PS: we have tips on that).

Many companies have given in to the dark side of social media: buying followers, likes, and views to give their companies the illusion of credibility. Despite the best efforts of Facebook, Google, and other tech companies, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stop fraudulent clickers, especially if they are a part of a “click farm”. Click farming is a service where a lot of employees sit around and like, reblog, and follow your content, before abandoning the account and doing it again.

It sounds tempting, doesn’t it?  For a relatively small fee, your business could have thousands of online followers across several social media platforms. Still, it’s important not to get entangled in the murky waters of paying for clicks, and this is why:

1. It isn’t ethical.

Sure, a lot of these companies operate outside of Canada and the United States, so you’re technically not breaking any laws by using them, but there’s no doubt to how unethical they are. If your company is caught using click farms, your numbers will plummet all the way back down. In some serious cases your social media feeds could even be shut down!  If your company is one that prides itself on being ethical and transparent, having customers find out you essentially lied about your online credibility will damage your reputation.

2. Buying likes isn’t a substitute for a real strategy.

If you have a large number of likes and views, but little to no actual interaction on your site, that doesn’t really accomplish anything. Having a small group of engaged and active followers is more productive than having a huge group of people who don’t talk. Engagement creates buzz and increases brand loyalty, and facilitates the word-of-mouth spread of your company. Relying too heavily on click farming is similar to hiring a bunch of robots to stand around in your store: it might look busy and crowded, but no one is actually talking or buying anything.

3. Good content breeds good exposure.

In the end, content is king. If you have solid, interesting content for your followers to enjoy, they will share and tell their friends about it. Of course, online marketing plays a big role in increasing the overall reach of your content, but posting genuinely interesting articles, videos, or promotions are the foundation of any good online marketing strategy.

In the long term, we believe that it’s important to have confidence in your brand without resorting to cheap tricks.