In our last post we discussed some of the reasons companies and individuals feel justified in purchasing social media fans and followers, rather than growing a fan base organically.
Business owners feel as if buying Twitter followers or Facebook Likes makes their company look more credible and established, but it is also possible that buying friends just creates an illusion of social status. And so the question remains: will this controversial practice inspire trust from new and potential customers, and will it actually increase sales?
This continuation from last week’s article will explore some of the pros and cons to paying for follows, that way you can decide for yourself whether or not this is a strategy you want to add to your marketing campaign.
An inflated Twitter/Facebook following Creates the Illusion of Importance
To be honest, as an avid social media user, it feels pretty good when my Instagram picture gets double-digit likes, or when my timely and well-thought-out tweet is favorite-d or retweeted.
Much of my social media activity is just an extension of my desire for acceptance and validation, and, although I cannot speak for everyone, I know I do not stand alone here. While I would never spring to purchase more followers on any platform, I am thrilled when my numbers increase.
But a business owner has the advantage of labeling their self-promotion as branding, and there is something to be said about an organization that is popular online. While boiling down the value of your online presence to a mere number on Twitter sounds ridiculous, there’s really no denying that one’s Twitter following, despite being a vanity metric, is often thought to correlate directly with importance.
So your Followers are Fake…but the Clout is Very Real
An increase in fans and followers can transform a stand-up amateur into a professional comedian, a garage band into a rising star, a movie extra into fresh new talent, and a small business into an authoritative source. Individuals have even been hired for job positions as a result of their high Twitter following, since the number serves as a representation of how powerful your online word can be.
Trending on Twitter #Bandwagoning
Once users see your numbers rising, they will be more likely to follow you as well. I can claim to be an expert food critic, but if I only have 26 followers, most people will assume that the only food I’m judging is my own mac & cheese. If that number was more like 700 or 1,500, I become a considerably more reputable source—one that users are much more likely to check out. This could mean that the users you’ve purchased can actually generate real followers as a result of your imagined prestige.
Simple & Affordable
Building a legitimate fan following takes time and effort—you need to consistently be sharing great and original content, posting funny videos or remarks, or broadcasting the latest news. Most companies just don’t have the time.
You could spend months gathering information, writing and publishing articles, scouring the web for news and videos…or you can grab your wallet and buy a militia-sized army of followers for less than a latte at your local coffee shop.
The Zombie Follow-pocalypse
When you buy fans, you get little to no interaction because you’re really purchasing mindless spam bots. The profiles are fake, no one is manning them, they are all for show—so when you post interesting and relevant stuff, no one will comment and no one will retweet. Your content stands still and does not function as it should—to drive traffic to your website or increase your search engine rankings.
The Number is not Enough
All of the zombie followers in the world won’t do much to raise your Klout score. Social media influence scores tend to look at engagement and interaction rather than sheer numbers, so you wont be getting added benefits with your inflated metric. Additionally, if you manipulate your numbers, it is much more difficult to properly measure social media return on investment and the true influence of your campaign on the public.
You’re Walking Right into a Trap
Be familiar with the dangers associated with purchasing friends. Other than the sheer humiliation when your practices are discovered, many of the sites that offer to sell you more followers are a scam. You part with your hard earned cash and come away with absolutely nothing. Often times, these nefarious groups are simply looking to take advantage of businesses that do not know any better. As a general Internet rule, you must always be wary when entering your personal information on a website, and providing your credit card to many of these sites in particular might not be the brightest idea.
Your fake followers could also end up doing damage against your real followers by hacking, phishing, and infecting them with link spam. Is it worth buying your fan base when you consider all the risks?
Some genius wrote an algorithm that can now easily detect who is desperate enough to buy friends. The Fake Follower Check tool can lead to public embarrassment and force you to take a defensive stance and fight to redeem your character and the save the reputation of your business.
Naturally boosting your followers on your social media accounts isn’t easy—but it is worth it in the end. Just a handful of engaged, active followers is infinitely more valuable than hundreds of fake accounts that exist as ego inflators.
The practice of buying fans and followers is considered unethical by a majority of online users and is not a replacement for conventional marketing efforts needed to build any successful business.
On the other hand, purchasing friends is completely legal and the practice is definitely rising in popularity, especially among startups. For small businesses, growing pains are essential for character development, so while buying friends can be considered when planning a marketing strategy, discovering new followers organically and becoming a power player in your niche is what will really increase your following.
By: Sasha Novikov| Creatine Marketing