Seeing 10,000+ followers or likes sure does look good on a page. You know what else it says if you are a newbie, small business or don’t produce worthy content? It says you didn’t earn them.
The question is; what’s more important, thousands of followers or fans or a hundred or so engaged consumers and peers? Before you click to buy followers or likes think about what your goal really is, numbers or conversions.
In all reality, the thought of seeing that ridiculous number is pretty appealing but it’s not real. Buying followers is like carrying a fake Gucci purse on Rodeo Drive, everyone knows it’s fake.
It’s easy to get lost in the numbers and feel like you aren’t getting your message out fast enough but content marketing, which includes social media, is a marathon not a sprint. It’s also important to remember keeping your earned followers and fans engaged is like a relationship, not a one night stand.
Some things to remember:
The numbers don’t tell your story, your content does.
As a marketer it hurts my heart to repeatedly type that numbers aren’t everything because a large part of a marketing strategists job is analysis. As marketers we also know that the number of followers/fans/inquiries leading to conversions is the most important number and buying followers/likes only skews your data and leads to hard to measure ROI’s.
In summary, why is buying followers/fans so terrible?
- Your engagement and conversion rates will suck. When you buy followers/fans they aren’t people that are interested in you, your business or engaging with you. Would you hire an employee that came in for an interview that said “I don’t want to work or participate in anything you do, I’m just going to come in here, inactively sit, and collect a paycheck?” Negative, so why would you pay someone to find you thousands of those people?
- The accounts are largely inactive or fake. I’m not saying all of the follow/like generating companies use fake and inactive accounts, but yes I am in one way or another. Marketing and social media strategists will tell you “it takes time to earn your followers.” (This is the point where you sigh and realize good marketing doesn’t happen quickly.)
- It will most likely hurt your reputation than do any good with that pretty 5-6 digit number. Those who know social media can look at your posts and the number of people that follow/like your page and know if they are paid or earned. When your customer finds out you bought your followers/likes they will question why you needed to buy them and can’t earn them. Some companies ask for access to your social media accounts to force feed your information by spamming. I don’t think I need to go in to detail on this; no one likes a spammer!
- There are analysis tools that can find fake accounts. Facebook, as of 03/12/2015, will no longer count “likes” from inactive Facebook accounts and it’s only a matter of time before these shenanigans are ended by the tech Gods above and when you go from 10,000+ followers/fans to 100, people are probably going to find out. If you have bought followers/fans and now realize your misjudgment, just perform a fake follower check and clean house. There is no shame in admitting you were wrong IF you correct your mistake.
- No one likes a liar. Self-explanatory.
How Followers/Fans are bought and why it doesn’t work in the long run.
The ole’ follow you, follow me back trick. This is when large numbers of people are liked/followed every day in hopes they follow/like back and when they don’t, you turn into a teenage girl and unfollow/unlike them. You can do this every once in a blue moon because social media is about connecting with others but doing it to artificially generate fans will get your account suspended.
The imaginary friend technique. By paying companies to generate likes, followers, fans a majority of them are their imaginary friends. As mentioned Facebook is eliminating this so good for Facebook!
100% real followers/likes = 100% not engaged. Probably done by the spamming method or a mixture of techniques.
So how can you win at social media marketing?
- Be Patient
- Follow the Rules
- Connect Wisely
- Create Quality Content
- Don’t Spam
- Be Relevant
- Be Honest