Like Tools: Worth the Hype or Cause of the Influencer Marketing Downfall?

It all started with a thumbs up on Facebook. With one click on a tiny finger, people are able to show appreciation for anyone’s content. Furthermore, you can show your social media friends the content you are interested in. It needs one button to show the world what you LIKE!

Since then, a lot of social media channels have adapted the like-function in different ways. Several channels like Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest provide a heart shaped button to let users “like” the shared content. Depending on the social media platform you use, you even automatically subscribe to a profile when using the like button. Likes are precious as they provide information about a person’s personality and character traits.

What are Like Tools?

Like tools are bots that automatically like other accounts and their content based on preset preferences. It’s a common method people use to grow their like rate organically.

According to the Trait Prediction Engine of University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Centre, it just takes 150 likes to compile computer-based judgments of someone’s personality traits who are as accurate as those judgments made by a family member.

Like Tools for Increasing a Channel’s Exposure

More important than knowing how much information is revealed by liking content on social media platforms, is knowing how to gain likes for your content. Likes are understood as a value to define an account’s popularity. Think about it: People automatically tend to classify a post as reliable and positive if a large majority of users has already liked the content. Getting a lot of likes makes a channel appear more popular, reliable and, with that, more attractive to users who come across the channel by accident. Thus, gaining an extensive amount of likes for an influencer’s content is highly desirable regarding his or her prestige and also for gaining new followers.

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There are a lot of strategies to boost the likes on posts. A common method people use to grow their like rate organically is applying like tools such as Mass Planner, FollowLiker, Instagress, Likestagram or RoboLike. These tools automatically like other accounts and their content for you based on preferences you set. The idea of like tools is straightforward: By liking other user’s content on a regular basis, these users are being made aware of your channel and might follow you or at least like back some of your posts. It is simply a computer generated getting for giving.

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The Benefits of Having a Like Robot

The automatic support of like tools helps users to engage with other accounts without being active constantly. One of the benefits of like tools is that they save a lot of time by doing the work that would take forever to do manually. Regarding Instagram, like tools generally ask for a presetting of hashtags. The tool will only like pictures that used those hashtags in the caption. In that way, the content liked by the tool is more likely to match one’s own channel and interest. Furthermore, these tools allow determining the number of likes per hour as well a certain time span in which the tool is active.

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Why are these settings so important? When using these tools, the motto “the more, the merrier” does not apply. If the tool runs 24/7, chances are that the channel will be blocked by the social media platform. Liking content constantly is not the natural behavior of users, so Facebook, Instagram and the like might classify accounts that use like tools too extensively as bots. Moreover, some like tools provide further options to personalize the like automation for attracting users within a certain area and identifying those users who show interest regarding certain topics and brands.

With the right settings, the tool automatically likes every content piece that meets the previously determined requirements. For drawing traffic to one’s own account, the tool can be told to like posts of the followers of certain channels that have similar content to one’s own channel. Additionally, it can be set up to like the content of people from a specific location or within a certain distance of that location. These settings are essential to target those people interested in a certain topic.

If you are further interested in the impacts of like tools, take a look at our blog posts on our Operation Instafamous.

Too Good to be True? Organic Likes vs. Bot Likes

Having a tool like content in hopes of creating awareness of one’s own account is one strategy to gain likes and traffic for a channel. But likes can also be bought. Several providers such as Likeskaufen or Buzzoid offer likes for different social media channels and from different nationalities for low prices.

Pricing Model Instagram Likes

Example of pricing model for Instagram Likes on Buzzoid

For influencers and companies just starting their social media channels, buying likes in the beginning can be one way to increase their followings more quickly. As mentioned before, people tend to engage with channels more willingly that have been tried and tested already by other users in the form of likes and comments. For channels just starting, it can be hard to gain likes and followers and to drive traffic to the channel, especially due to the massive information overload buzzing in web 2.0. If a channel starts off with some extra support in the form of purchased likes, it might be easier to attract organic likes afterwards. This might not be the case for every channel, though, as our Operation Instafamous revealed. And keep in mind: Purchased likes do not come from authentic fans of a channel and are not a solution in the long run.

The Takeaway

Like tools are not the devil’s work and will most likely not cause the influencer marketing universe to collapse. Nonetheless, companies and brands that work with influencers should be aware of the presence of these tools. Especially since the launch of Instagram’s new algorithm in 2016, influencers try to win out over the platform’s new way of displaying posts. Due to the new emphasis on posts of users closely connected, content does not appear in feeds chronologically any longer but does so based on factors like the connection of channels and interaction rate. The more people like a post, the more likely it is for this posting to appear on the explore page. But for influencer cooperations, the procedure of buying likes and using like tools entails risks: Purchased likes are generated by bots in the first place and do not come from honest, authentic and active users.

Furthermore, purchased likes distort the actual performance of a posting. Thus, a posting in which purchased likes are involved can seem to have attracted hundreds of people while in reality, it only attracted a handful of them. Even though fake likes might attract organic likes in the long run, marketers should analyze influencer channels closely to distinguish the amount of fake likes from organic likes and, thus, assess how valuable the influencer is for a collaboration.