In the past I’ve never had much time for social media and given I spend most my life avoiding people, the last thing I want is people following me. But, as with most travel bloggers, I did create a Facebook Page to augment my blog, and I used it to do little more than publish direct from WordPress and Instagram and whatnot. It was a completely half-assed attempt where I otherwise had no time for it. But I did manage to create a few thousand followers at the beginning, God knows how, and my Facebook Page looked to be relatively popular. I naturally tried to build on this popularity by paying for a Facebook Page Like Campaign, and things continued to go really well. I think in total I would have spent roughly 70 quid ($100) to create around 5,000 page likes. And with this came a major increase in interaction, although this only lasted for a short period of time. It soon dwindled away and I then realised that pretty much all the Page Likes I paid for were fake. After some quick research I found the below video which sums it up well.
It was honestly a lazy campaign, and I didn’t pay much attention from the get-go. I set a target audience, which was English speakers in Southeast Asian countries, and I left it to work away in the background. Around half way through however I noticed a hell of a lot of the profiles had come from Myanmar, a relatively new country to social media, and I thought I may be onto something. Unfortunately the only thing I was onto was click farms where basically fake user profiles like random pages in an attempt to trick Facebook into thinking they’re real (here for a better explanation). If I had wanted fake followers I could have easily bought thousands for a Fiverr but fake followers are the last thing anyone wants. There’s only one thing worse than having no followers on Facebook, and that is having loads of followers with next to no engagement or interaction. This means you’re either extremely boring, or you’ve bought fake likes. Either way they both reflect terribly across your entire brand. In fact I’d say it’s probably better to have no Facebook Page, than to have fake followers, and because of this I continually contemplate getting rid of the account. It’s embarrassing and it’s too much hassle to resurrect interest. Now, instead of watching my likes go up, I watch fake Facebook pages fall away, feeling less and less liked everyday 🙁
It now feels pointless to publish on Facebook where, given its roughly 50/50 with fake followers and real, I am now losing half the reach I had before. But it honestly doesn’t really matter, at least to me. While success in travel blogging does focus on marketing, social media and networking (which are all swear words to me) I find the social media side is used more to leverage press trips and freebies. I really have no interest in either. My main focus in the past has always been in passive incomes, such as through affiliates, and with my low cost of living in rural Thailand I easily get by without the social side. The only follower I really need is Google. But if I did ever join the social side of blogging I would likely go with just one platform that suits me, like Instagram maybe, and then work to do it well. Because to me it always felt pointless and counter productive to have a bunch of half-assed, unused accounts, which do nothing but reflect badly on my brand. Or I’d just pay other people to manage them for me. The only benefit I can see from the fake likes is on my Klout score which also sites me as an expert in Backpacking, Adventure travel, Evolution, India Politics and other things I have no interest in.