Be gone with you demons!
by Bill Nolan
We recently published a blog about the benefits of using paid advertising and promoted posting as a tool to gain exposure for your business online and on your social media accounts. This helps to pump up some of the numbers across your social platforms and on your websites. While this option is usually beneficial, many people still ask about taking this step a little further and straight up buying followers and page likes. As most of you already know, there are companies that will deliver anywhere from 100-100,000 followers on your social media accounts as long as you are willing to pay the buck. While this may sound like a good idea at first, you should take a moment and really consider who these followers really are.
Picture this… an office packed with 50 workers making a substandard wage, playing on computers, creating account after account, which will soon be your new followers or likes on your business page. That’s right. This is how most of these companies operate. Most of the new followers you just purchased are basically fake accounts that will never interact with your posts. You may be saying, regardless of that, the influx of numbers on your accounts will give you more clout. Right? Wrong. Having a ludicrous amount of likes may get people to pay attention to your accounts, but sometimes not in a good way. Keep in mind that some of these social media buffs and platform algorithms are fickle. But that’s a blog for another day.
Everyone with a brain that visits your page will know what you’ve done. It’s hard to miss all of the “eggs” named “John Smith.” And those pretty young ladies that now follow you may become your worst nightmare. In essence, all of the followers that you just bought could make you lose credibility in ways you never thought of. It’s like a dirty little secret that businesses try to hide, but they can’t. You ask again, how can people tell? Take a really good look at profiles across different social networks sometime. The dead giveaway, especially on Twitter as we mentioned, are the “eggs” or “blank heads” for profile pictures. Those office workers I mentioned have to churn out thousands of accounts daily. Some of them don’t have the time to upload a picture. No worry, these may get you a discount on rates to buy. Either way, the lack of activity is what lets everyone know it is just a ghost account that was bought with the intention of making your business look better.
Now, some of the other companies that sell followers are a little more savvy about their operations. They go all out. It will cost you more, but that extra cash will get you accounts with profile picts and and the occasional post from that account. Yes, they use scheduling tools to make a post, most likely once every 2-4 weeks, so these accounts look more legit. But don’t be fooled, because you won’t be fooling anyone else. These accounts are still easy to spot, and they without a doubt can hurt your business reputation. Trust us, it will all work out within the algorithms in the end.
What about buying likes on Facebook? A lot of businesses on Facebook have done this, and they are now seeing their investment running down the drain. Facebook is actively purging accounts that are obviously created for this purpose. Company fan pages are getting hit hard, and they are getting hit where it hurts… their likes. Some are losing hundreds of likes while others are losing thousands. You may also expect this implemented on other networks as they try to take out the garbage.
Many businesses that decide to buy followers are missing the bigger picture. Ask yourself why you want followers and likes in the first place? The answer is obvious, to interact with your content and company for the best ROI. Those real followers that like, comment, and share your posts organically helps create more exposure for your business. Quality followers and customers lead to more quality followers and customers. Followers that you buy are just made up accounts that will never engage with your posts, EVER. Nor do they have friends that will ever see your posts and spread the word. In this case, quality trumps quantity every time. The benefits gained from 100 real followers that you’ve gained naturally will always outweigh the 1,000 dead accounts that you’ve bought.
Hopefully you can see why it’s best to resist the urge to buy followers and page likes. If you put some thought, time, and creativity into making your accounts better you will gain a following that helps your ROI… instead of hurting your business. One more thing to keep in mind, remember those pretty young ladies and sometimes men that are your new purchased followers? These are usually spam accounts. Think about it, and no one wants them.