“A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity”
– Dalai Lama
Social media is based on relationships, and relationships are based on trust. Without trust and honesty, it’s not a real relationship.
I’ll be up-front, I feel strongly against buying followers, RTs, Likes or anything along those lines. I discussed the issue with a friend, and they suggested I write an article explaining in detail why buying followers is not only wrong, but why it doesn’t work.
I decided to do some research to see what others were saying about the practice of buying followers. I found this interesting article in The New York Times that discussed some different opinions about the topic.
One part stood out to me in particular: A marketing pro claimed to have bought over a million followers for his clients, and promotes the practice. His clients include musicians, actresses and other well-known people who he declined to name. “And it’s so cheap too,” he noted.
On the other end of the spectrum, a social media management company, StatusPeople, developed a tool to expose these accounts. The application Fake Follower Check evaluates how many account followers are fake, inactive and real.
I decided to check out the app with some popular people on Twitter, and this is what the results were:
- Justin Bieber (28,891,421 Followers): 29% Fake | 36% Inactive | 35% Good
- Pres. Obama (20,800,477 Followers): 39% Fake | 32% Inactive | 29% Good
- My Personal Account (781 Followers): 1% Fake | 4% Inactive | 95% Good
Despite the initial impression that you get from the high follower numbers, neither Obama or Bieber have hardly any @Replies to followers or high levels of engagement. They’re not very active and probably have a representative managing the accounts for them, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that followers were purchased at some point for the accounts.
So lets sum this all up. Here are the 5 reasons why buying followers, etc. isn’t a good idea and doesn’t work:
- Most Followers Aren’t “Real” Followers: The thousands of “followers” that you’re able to buy usually consist mostly of bots, egg heads and inactive accounts that either Tweet spam or are inactive almost entirely.
- You’re Betraying Your Followers’ Trust: For those who are following you, you’re betraying they’re trust and confidence in your account’s transparency. Without honesty, there is no relationship.
- It Doesn’t Change the Bottom-Line: Despite what the numbers might say, the reality is that you don’t have any real followers who are interested and engaged with you, which is what social media is all about.
- People Will See You’re a Fake: It’s easy to tell if an account’s followers are real or fake. If it has thousands of followers and has only tweeted 10 times, they’re clearly fake. If it has thousands of followers and no @Replies or engagement, they’re most likely fake. There are also tools like Fake Follower Check that help detect fake followers.
- It’s a Waste of Money: Why spend valuable marketing budget on fake followers when you could be investing in better graphics, a community manager or even social media training that will have a better ROI (return on investment) in the long-run.
- You’ll End Up Where You Started: Over time these fake accounts get deactivated, un-follow and shut down. This means that over time your follower count will drop back down and your engagement will be non-existant, leaving you exactly where you were when you started.
~ Miss Soucie