How Much Does “Popularity” Cost on Social Networking Sites?

Money cannot buy us true friendship in the real life, but can we buy fans or followers on social networking sites? Absolutely, and the price might be cheaper than expected.   

Eric Steuer reported the following price tags in Wired Magazine:
Facebook: 500 likes for $30 or 20,000 for $699 on Socialyup.com
Twitter: 1,000 followers for $10 or 1,000,000+ for $1,750 on FanMeNow.com
Pinterest: 100 followers for $15 or 5,000 for $95 on Pinfol.com
YouTube: 30,000 views for $150 or 1,000,000+ for $3,100 on 500views.com

I can certainly afford to pay $30 to make my Facebook page look better, but if I rarely engage the Facebook users on my page, how likely can I build a meaningful relationship with them? Without a meaningful relationship, can I create value for me and the Facebook users on my page? Probably not. That’s why I argued earlier that only the relationship built on engaging conversations can create value. Likewise, even though companies can buy thousands or millions of likes or followers, without engaging and meaningful conversations, company will not be able to convert the likes and followers into customers or sales.

What do you think of the act of purchasing fans or followers? Can we treat that behavior the same as cheating? If so, are the companies cheating the customers or potential investors? What suggestions will you provide to the companies who want to recruit (but not to buy) real fans and followers?

Relevant discussion:

References:
Steuer, Eric. (2013, April). Best friends$: No matter what social network you’re on, you can buy your way to popularity. Wired, p. 32.
The picture was downloaded from MalaysiaFinance.Blogspot.com

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