It happens to the best of us. We’re browsing around and we see an offer to buy hundreds or thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook fans, all for just a few bucks. It’s so tempting. Who could resist? We start thinking about how much better our profile will look with those inflated numbers. Oh, the possibilities!
However, before you click that “Buy Now” button, let’s explore the dark side of buying fans and followers. And what a dark side it is.
To this day, I cannot think of one single client of ours who has ever benefitted from buying fans or followers. It has always been a situation which they had come to regret. I don’t want you to fall into that same trap.
Some folks might think it’s harmless. Oh, what could a few thousand fake Twitter followers or Facebook likes do to hurt my brand? Actually, it can do quite a bit of damage to your brand. Let’s see why…
First of all, fake fans can reduce the chances of your real fans seeing your updates on Facebook.
Facebook has a complex algorithm, (which at one point was called EdgeRank) that determines which stuff shows up in your news feed based on a number of factors. One of those determining factors happens to be the ratio of total fans to total engagement on your page.
Basically, if you have a whole bunch of fake fans (who could never possibly “like” or interact with your content), Facebook thinks your content quality is low. Thus, future posts will be given less priority in the news feed, due to the limited number of fans who engaged with your past content.
Furthermore, on Twitter, fake followers are easy to detect. Nothing screams “inauthentic” more than an account with very little interaction and a ton of followers.
Just as with everything else in life, success comes from hard work. If you provide value to your audience, your follower count will grow. That’s the only way to do it legitimately.
When explaining our unique approach to social media marketing with clients, we often say that we’d rather have a small group of 100 loyal fans and followers than a huge surplus of fakes. The number of fans and followers isn’t what matters these days. Far more important is the number of interactions you’re having across all active platforms.
For instance, look at the number of times someone has retweeted or favorited your content on Twitter, or mentioned you on the platform. That’s what social media is all about in the first place. It’s a conversation game, not a connection game.
At the end of the day, there are as many different approaches to social media marketing as there are marketers in this industry (which is a pretty crowded space). We certainly don’t claim to have all of the answers, but what we do have is a system that has worked for our clients, simply because it is based around authentic engagement.
Whatever your opinion might be on this topic, I respect that. I just wanted to make you aware of the negative impact buying fans and followers has on your social media campaign. It isn’t something to take lightly.
These days with so much noise in the online world, we need to take advantage of every possible opportunity to break through. We believe the best way to do that is to be fair, honest, and valuable to your audience. Don’t look for shortcuts. There are none.
Keep grinding away at delivering quality content on a daily basis and after a while, you’ll start to see what works. Then, do more of that. Plain and simple. Is it easy? Heck no! Does it bring results? Yes, but only with plenty of time and patience.
The discussion doesn’t have to end here. Have you ever bought fans or followers for your social media profiles? Share your experiences in the comments section below and let’s learn from each other.