We’ve stumbled across quite an interesting video online by a chap called Veritasium.  In it he performs an experiment using Facebook’s “pay-to-boost-post” system, and compares the results with using sites that actually charge to boost your page-likes using click-farms. He set up a Facebook page that has no business gaining Likes, as it has no content. It is called Virtual Cat.

In short, he has concluded that paying Facebook to boost your posts, gain likes and see real engagement from those who like is a) a waste of money and b) actually harmful to your page.  This is mainly due to the percentage of social engagement of the total number of page-likes being so low. And, regardless of the geographical demographic that you target, the actual likes were mainly based in countries notorious for running click-farms. Rory Cellan-Jones from the BBC ran a similar experiment by setting up a fake Facebook page for the fictitious “Virtual Bagel” company

Here is the video:

So, some interesting points are raised here. If you are spending a proportion of your marketing budget boosting your Facebook posts, then you may be wasting your money and even harming your business.  Facebook does not show every post you make to every one of your fans, but rather a percentage of your fans.  It checks how much engagement there has been on your post, and then uses those statistics to decide how many of your fans will be shown the next post.  If most of your likes have been bought, or acquired through click-farms, then you won’t see any engagement and your reach will suffer.

Everybody knows the value of accurate, qualified customer data. Without it, you simply won’t be able to engage with your audience on any meaningful level. The collection of this data has always been a task for business owners and marketing teams, usually requiring a huge amount of time and resource (surveys, form filling, market research).

It would be great if there was a way for you to gain customer data without really having to do anything more than you already are. Let’s say, for example, that you run a small restaurant and you’re looking to increase your online presence in the local area. What’s your normal strategy? Menu door-drops, advertising through local newspapers and magazines? Sure, these work to a degree, but such blanket marketing is never going to get everyone you reach through your door.

Word-of-Mouth marketing is probably the most important type. People are far more likely to trust a personal recommendation from a friend. One of your customers tells a few friends about how great your food is, and the next thing you know, you’ve got a few extra full tables, and more happy customers.

How can you capitalise on this? Once they leave, you don’t have any control over whether they’ll return, you’ve got no way to contact them and you also can’t influence their friends to try you out.

One solution is to offer them free WiFi (which you may already be doing) but in exchange for their data. It’s called Social WiFi, and it’s an easy-to-use system that allows the customer to log in in seconds using their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn account. In exchange for this service, they give you permission to access their publicly-available data. You can set it so that they must like your page or follow your Twitter feed in exchange for logging in. Or how about giving them the option to check in on Facebook, telling all their friends that they’re enjoying a lovely meal with you?

Also, now that you have their email address, you can send an automatic, timed email to them inviting them back with a discount offer.  This could be the next day, or perhaps a few days before their birthday…

The capture of qualified customer data and engagement with them on a meaningful level through your social media pages is a great way to get a real loyal following to your brand.  It’s also the way to get word-of-mouth influence over your customers’ friends. Why pay Facebook for unreliable likes from a disengaged target audience in another country?

Talk to Fusion WiFi to see how we can help you grow your business through Social WiFi.