The U.S. State Department has spent $630,000 to buy Facebook likes, according to Washington Examiner. The State Department has increased the amount that they have spent on likes between 2011 and March 2013, according to the inspector general. The State Department increased their English language Facebook page likes from 10,000 to over 2 million. The inspector general said that despite the funding for the social media increase, the Department failed to reach the bureau’s target audience. Only 2% of the fans are engaging with the Facebook Page through liking, sharing, and commenting.
“Many in the bureau criticize the advertising campaigns as ‘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,” stated the inspector general.
Facebook changed around their EdgeRank algorithm in September 2012, which made “fan” campaigns less valuable. The bureau is now constantly paying for sponsored ads to keep their content visible. The inspector general also pointed out that the bureau has a lack of a social media strategy. This is evidenced by the State Department bureaus having over 150 social media accounts that often overlap.