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Lessons from Lady Gaga about buying online popularity

Lady Gaga faced public ridicule earlier this week when YouTube stripped her account of 156 million views deemed spam. This is a warning for any small business considering buying online popularity. 

YouTube finally took decisive action against dummy accounts and view generators by slashing millions of bought views from high-profile accounts. While Gaga was the biggest offender by some margin, fellow pop stars Chris Brown, Leona Lewis and the late Michael Jackson also had their accounts trimmed.

The social platform referred to the process as “de-spamming the data” and should be considered a red flag for anyone tempted to boost their social media standing by paying for popularity.

While buying likes, followers and views is perfectly legal (and increasingly big business), the process most likely breaches the terms and conditions of all social networks but is not actively policed. YouTube’s early spring clean indicates that this stance could be changing.

But public embarrassment is the least of your worries. Most social media commentators agree that buying online popularity simply doesn’t work. The $90 you spend on 1000 Facebook likes, the current going rate in Australia, might make your business page look more prettier but don’t expect any engagement from your new fans.

In fact, bought likes or views will, most likely, lower your conversion rate. Instead of interacting with a couple of hundred people who are actually interested in your brand or product, you’re now dealing with spambots and dummy accounts – often from India.

This underlines the point that the number of likes, views or followers is not the metric you should be using to measure the success of your social media strategy.

You should be paying considerably more attention to the number of leads generated. After all, these may eventually translate into dollars. Online popularity, on the other hand, will only soothe your ego.

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Mike Mrkic

Mike Mrkic

Mike Mrkic is the social web editor of Dynamic Business. He looks after our social media and web content. Mike has considerable experience in journalism and social media management working for companies like Channel V, Music Max, Sydney Star Observer and Idolator.

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