PSA: Avoid Buying Followers for Your Social Media Accounts.
We see it all the time, tweets, comments, and messages advertising “100,000 fans for $500” or “get followers for ‘X’ amount of dollars!” We know these offers can be tempting to the social media novice. As an agency, we get asked about these messages all of the time. Not only are these offers spam, but they’re also scams. Double whammy! These types of messages give truth to the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” We never recommend shelling out money to these types of spammers and scammers. Friends don't let friends buy social media followers, and here's why:
They’re Fake - These follower accounts you're paying for are not usually actual people who will benefit your brand account in any way. Sure, most people think a high number of followers is a good thing (though this is debatable) but what’s truly the benefit of having a high number of fake followers? Nothing. Paying for them to follow you has absolutely no benefit (and is more likely to hurt you). Money wasted. Bummer!
They’re Not Targeted - When you buy these followers, they’re certainly not a highly targeted group of potential customers. As mentioned above, they’re mostly (if not all) fake followers, and they don’t care about your business or what you sell. You are far better off utilizing social advertising offered by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the rest.
They Don’t Engage - Now that we’ve established that these followers are fake and certainly not targeted based on quality, the chances of them actually engaging with your business is non-existent. Now, if you buy Facebook fans, and make a post that gets zero interactions, despite the fact you have 100,000 fans, that is a huge red-flag to Facebook that your content is not valuable, thus showing less of your future posts in the news feed of your fans. What does this mean? Having a high number of fans that don’t interact or engage with you actually will really hurt your social media presence.
They Don’t Share - Sharing means caring. And these followers don’t care, so they don’t share…your content. One of the many benefits of a healthy social media following is having real quality fans that love your brand/business and share your content. Think about it. If Susie loves your company, and shares one of your posts with her 5,000 Twitter followers, she’s marketing your content for you! Now if any of Susie’s 5,000 followers share her post about you, it goes to their followers, and so on. That’s the potential you can create by attracting real people to your brand - not fake followers from a fast scam.
They Ruin Your Credibility - If someone actually looks at your followers and sees what is typical of spam accounts (e.g. no followers of their own; no profile photo, or bio, etc.) as a big portion of your following, they’ll likely think you bought followers, thus ruining your credibility. They’ll most likely think, “Why do they need to buy followers? What’s wrong with the content? What’s wrong with this business!? Get me outta here!”
They Ruin Your Analytics - One of the coolest things (especially for numbers folks) is the ability to analyze your social media communities with platform analytics. Unlike print advertising, you have the ability to really know who is following, interacting, and sharing your content online. When you purchase these followers, it skews your data and ruins the ability to accurately assess your social media community and who you’re appealing to online.
They’ll Steal Your Identity - Not only are you opening up the possibility of having your social media account shutdown for purchasing fake followers, but you’re also opening yourself up to the potential of having your identity stolen. These fake follower sites are usually fly-by-night operations. They have been known to steal credit card information, identifiable information, and money! Your own personal information is not secure or safe with them, so save yourself the headache.
Building your social media following is a marathon, not a sprint. It can often take months, if not years to cultivate meaningful relationships with a highly targeted online community, but no one said it was going to be easy! Utilizing advertising on the various platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) are the best paid methods for gaining highly targeted fans legitimately. We always recommend being genuine and personable in your posts and interactions, and sharing valuable content in order to attract real quality followers.
If you’re interested in paid social media advertising, feel free to reach out us on Twitter @ThinPigMedia!