Technology

US state department spends $630,000 to boost Facebook 'likes'

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MUMBAI: The US state department has in a bid to boost its Facebook fan base has spent USD 630,000 on its Facebook strategy. The strategy has helped the state department in increasing its Facebook followers from 100,000 to more than two million in a span of two years between 2011 and 2013.

Describing the social media strategy, the US state department report stated, "The strategy is simple. It involves buying fans who may have once clicked on an ad or ‘liked‘ a photo but have no real interest in the topic and have never engaged further."

Defenders of this plan argued that Facebook page discovery is difficult enough to merit the use of Facebook ads ‘to increase visibility.‘

The US state department may be content that after its six figure investment, each of its four Facebook pages had 2.5 million fans that were acquired through advertisements and viral photos, but a funds-rich social media strategy doesn‘t necessarily mean that they‘ve acquired loyal fans. The rate of engagement would be the judge of that.

No surprise here: Just two per cent of fans were found to be engaging with these Facebook pages, which also meant that there were few people who are actually paying attention to the U.S. state department‘s Facebook presence. And that has to sting, given that the department felt they were worth spending quite a bit of cash on.

"Engagement on each posting varied, and most of that interaction was in the form of ‘likes.‘ Many postings had fewer than 100 comments or shares; the most popular ones had several hundred."

The State Department acknowledged in the report that buying fans wasn‘t a terribly worthwhile investment. Maybe that will be a lesson to everyone buying Facebook fans out there: The state department shelled out and look where it got them. Apparently you really can‘t buy popularity.

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