It can be tempting to pad your social followers.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts with a low number can make your business feel undesirable, even stale.
Customers do like to see lively accounts with frequent posts and interactions, and lots of followers. If your pages look like the equivalent of crickets chirping, it is a definite downfall for your image.
Having a large following also creates a sense of credibility within those visiting your page. This contributes to their aptness to trust your brand… and establishing trust is crucial to landing new customers, and keeping them long term.
So yes, your business is getting evaluated based on “vanity metrics” like social followers. This can make it tempting to buy them to get ahead quickly.
However, as you’ll find out, a first impression based on your followers can change as the user explores your account. As they dig deeper, they’ll find out whether you’re legit and engaged, or just as fake as your audience.
4 Reasons to Never Buy Social Followers
Before we dive into the reasons why you should never buy followers, it’s helpful to understand this practice.
When you buy social followers, you’re paying a company to do one of two things:
- Get you fake followers. This means they’ll create “ghost” accounts and follow you from them, or find fake or spam accounts to follow you. Just to clarify, these are not real people who are interested in your brand.
- Employ bots to follow or like related accounts. According to social media etiquette, these accounts will often check you out and follow back. Then, within a few days, the bot will unfollow your new follower. (Again.. Not real people).
Whichever method they use, neither are worth the money. According to AdEspresso, in 2016, 100 new followers cost an average of $2.95. 50,000 followers would set you back a cool $250.
Why should you avoid paying for followers? These reasons, to start:
1. Quality is Better Than Quantity
Some numbers are better than others. Having a boat-load of followers looks good at first blush. However, visitors who interact with your account long enough will see whether you have engaged, committed followers or empty seats.
It doesn’t matter how many followers you have if they’re not invested in your brand. You can grab a veritable stadium’s worth of followers if you buy them, sure. That said, this means nothing if your social accounts aren’t driving sales or bringing traffic to your website.
2. You Won’t Earn Engaged Users
Even if you get thousands of followers from ponying up, this won’t translate into investment in your brand.
The followers you gain instead will be from fake and spam accounts. A lot of these aren’t even helmed by a person – they’re bot-controlled. As such, you won’t get comments, feedback, likes, or shares from these entities. Your posts will go unnoticed because there won’t be any real humans to notice them.
3. You Won’t Build Your Rep – You Might Just Hurt It
Buying social followers can lead you into a trap. Anyone who digs below the surface of your shiny numbers will quickly see that the game’s afoot.
Just imagine if real customers figured it out. What would this do to your reputation?
When it comes down to it, laying down cash in exchange for fake followers is shady. It’s a way to fool people into thinking you’ve built trust with that audience. That is dishonest.
4. People Can Find Out Your Social Followers Are Fake
It’s easy for people to figure out that you didn’t earn your followers. Aside from scrolling through your follower list and noting the dodgy accounts, there are other ways.
In fact, there are online tools for this purpose. Ian Anderson Gray notes the Fake Followers Check, which analyzes the Twitter audience of any account for fakes.
So, really, if you think you can buy social followers on the sly and no one will be wiser, you’re quite wrong. And, to point back to reason number three, this can hurt you in the end.
Do This Instead of Buying into Vanity Metrics for Social Media:
Instead of looking for “get rich quick” schemes as related to followers, put in a little work.
Social media is about building relationships. You want your followers to trust you and your brand, as this leads to investment and engagement.
But, how should you do it?
Hone Your Focus: Target a Specific Audience
To grow your audience, you should be honing in on related accounts and your business’s target customers. Throw your net out any wider, and you’ll waste resources trying to court people who just don’t (and won’t ever) care about what you’re doing.
Instead, target the people who are like you, and the people who may need what you provide.
Run Facebook Ads and Follower Campaigns
Something as simple as a targeted Facebook ad campaign will be a huge help to building a legitimate follower base. Since you can target your ads specifically to the audience who you want following you, It’ll get you noticed by the right people and drive traffic to your social pages. This is half the battle. However, it’s up to you to provide enough value with your content to earn their following, and keep it.
Create Valuable Content
So, your ads are getting you visitors and curious people who are checking you out. How do you hook them?
You provide content with value.
Valuable content has a few different aspects, according to Content Marketing Institute. It is:
- Readable. It has few grammar or spelling mistakes. There are no novel-length paragraphs or run-on sentences.
- Findable. People can discover it organically with a keyword search, or by exploring a hashtag.
- Actionable. The content makes the reader want to comment, like, follow a link, or do something else that engages them.
- Understandable. The content is appropriate for the outlet, sets up a context for the reader, and caters to the audience’s intelligence level.
- Shareable. The content is easy to share and makes the user want to do so.
Do the Work: Build Your Social Media Presence and Earn Your Following
As you can see, buying into vanity metrics as a way to gauge your success is useless.
In the end, these numbers don’t mean much. What you should be looking at is the number of social followers you have as compared to the amount of engagement you’re getting. If you have strong engagement and devoted followers, you’re doing the right thing.
However, if you find yourself itching to use your trigger finger to buy followers, you need to sit back and ask yourself why one silly number is so important to you. It could be that your focus is skewed.
To get your social media in shape and grow your followers organically, contact Thrive Internet Marketing today. We know how to help you build a solid, honest following that will get you the results you want.