If you are feeling lonely on Twitter, with only a handful of followers, or not feeling enough fans like you on Facebook, you could consider buying more friends. There are various services out there offering to get you thousands of fans with prices going up to $4,000 for 10,000 fans.
How much would you pay to increase your social network influence? And who would you buy?
How these types of services work, I hear, is that hundreds of workers, mainly based in China and India, spend their days creating fake profiles on Twitter and Facebook, just to be a paid-for fan to a customer. These fake accounts boost up the numbers to those who pay, making it look like they’ve got major influence.
We’ve spoken about this before asked what’s the deal with ‘buying’ new Twitter followers and there have been some high profile names linked to the practice including Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. He was said to have bought some of his 1.3 million follower on Twitter although that was a charge that has been denied.
Anyone doing a check up on who your thousands of followers actually are will soon discover that you are a phony. But as more and more of these types of services show up (just look on Google) on the internet, and get customers, the act of buying your influence is not going away.
Here’s three reasons why it is a stupid waste of money to buy your fans and followers:
1) You’ll end up with an impressive looking amount of numbers, but it is unlikely any of these fake fans are going to engage back with you, sending you @ messages or retweeting you.
2) A lot of these services work by accessing your account and then following a lot of people, and unfollowing anyone who does not follow you back. What you get is an untargetted group of people you are connected to who don’t share your interests professionally or personally, a crowd that’s quantity but not quality and therefore less useful to the information you are after. The power of social media is connecting with the influencers in your industry, not just anyone out there.
3) Social media creates transparency and if you are in the public eye at all, you’ll want to appear credible to any bloggers or journalists who might be checking you out. If your followers are nothing but automated fake profiles then you’ll be busted and made to look foolish as the idiot that tried to buy influence.
The process of winning fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter is one that takes months and even years if done credibly. While you may not end up with as many followers as Lady Gaga, you will build influence among quality connections that you want to keep up your reputation with.
Don’t be a phony, don’t buy your social media influence.