Bribing People to Be Your Friends and Pretend to ‘Like’ You

The idea of word-of-mouth advertising being important is not new, though online social media as a form of it is relatively new. People ARE definitely influenced by what other people like.

“Oh, look how long the line is for that restaurant that must be GOOD. We should try it.”

And you can substitute ‘movie’ or many other products for the word ‘restaurant’ and the same concept applies. I had read advice to new restaurants to park employee cars in customer parking until you get enough customers for spaces to be hard to find. I know I once worked a fundraiser food booth at festival. Our business was very slow and we all looked a little too greedily at each passerby. After 10 or 15 minutes of this, I put my jacket on (masking the t-shirt that identified me as being with the group) and walked around to the front of the booth, ordered a hot dog and chatted with my co-workers while I ate the hotdog. In the 5-10 minutes that I stretched eating the hotdog into, we had 4 customers, versus none for the previous 15 minutes. Human psychology is definitely influenced by other’s actions. Why else would all those “bestselling” books splash how many copies they have sold all over their cover.

So, what’s this got to do with social media. Simple. In this day and age, a new business is wise to consider paying a few people to be their friends. There is nothing less inviting than a brand new Facebook Fan Page and a pathetically low number of people Like It. And yes, you can on your personal web page, ask your family and friends to Like it. But I recommend you go one step further. Go to or and find some people to Like Your Page, even possibly comment on it. It remains to be seen whether it’s also necessary to do the same with Google Plus and your website, but do yourself a favor and buy yourself some friends.

Do you think this is cheating? I don’t. No more than parking customers in front of the restaurant or my ‘pretending’ to be a customer at our food booth was — hey, I did actually eat and enjoy the hotdog, even if it was only 10:20 AM. I do have one place where I draw the line and some I know cross over. I won’t pay anyone to write a fake review. There are people engaging in this service and I hope the review database (such as Amazon) cracks down. But I feel there is a big difference between someone simply giving me the online ‘thumbs up’ versus pretending to have used a product or read a book when they have not.

Hopefully once you’ve gotten an initial set of paid friends, some real ones will come along. I know they have in my case!

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