Socialkik is one of those relatively controversial companies that sell Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube views. The company was founded in 2009, and although it didn’t get the attention of the mainstream media yet, it already has a few positive reviews from affiliate marketing experts like Ian Fernando and the successful Jonathan Volk.
We were offered a few months ago 1000 Facebook users to “test” and review the service. At the time, our Facebook page had no other followers than a few personal friends in my private network – the page was virtually invisible, and only 2 weeks old. The plan was to hire a Facebook community manager to develop a strategy that would bring Everything PR’s Facebook fan page in front of those users who are really interested in what we write about. We considered, at the time, that an experiment with Socialkik couldn’t hurt and we agreed.
Socialkik began delivering fans in no time, and to my surprise, they were exactly what the company promised: real people, who participated actively in discussions (although the percentage was relatively low to start with, and the interest was mainly in postings related to the Twilight Saga). The demographics stats below show where these fans came from:
The experiment was successful in terms of getting a number of followers in a relatively short time, and if numbers are what you want, using a service like Socialkik can be a good start. But there are other things we learned from this experiment:
- You can buy followers, but you cannot buy their interest – if what you have to say is not compelling enough, the numbers are just numbers. There will be no real interactions, no “social networking” in the real sense.
- You cannot speak about having a community when its members are silent and don’t interact with you or with each other
- Having a large number of followers has a psychological effect on others who will follow automatically, even when they don’t really have any interest in what you have to offer. However, these followers are again just numbers.
- A Facebook fan page only makes sense if it creates a community interested in your business. If that community also contributes to your ROI as a business, the purpose is achieved. If it doesn’t, it’s just a waste of time and money.
- Creating a community, nourishing it, making it grow and, in the end, making it participate and help you grow your own business, takes time. Nothing happens over night (sure, unless your name ends in “utcher.”
- A community will not interact with automate messages. They need to know that there is a person there ready to talk to them. If you don’t provide that kind of dialogue, everything else is meaningless.
So if you want to use a service like Socialkik to “kick-start” your fan page, or to have that psychological effect that brings more followers, feel free to do so. But don’t expect the fans or followers you bought to magically start buying whatever there is that you sell. Don’t expect them to come there and do your work for you. Buying followers is often the “easy way out” – but there’s no value in numbers without the human touch.