Only a phony would pay for followers and fans

Would you buy your social media influence?

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.

  • Aston Ward

    Completely agree with all of the above!

    What’s the point in having so many fans/followers when not one of them is likely to fall into your target market? I’d sooner have less than a thousand fans for a business that are all relevant and that you can actually converse with.

    And if anyone’s thinking ‘well it makes you look like you’re a bigger enterprise’, or ‘it increases our reach’ well that’s nonsense. Any marketing professional who’s any good will know that when social media’s concerned it’s quality not quantity. Hopefully some of the big brands start to realise this a bit more as well. Who cares if your competitor has 100k more followers. They’ll never interact with them when they’re not even able to buy your product/service.

  • Paul Keers

    There are, I’m afraid, some credible reasons for doing this.

    It’s particularly valuable to “celebrities” (and the inverted commas are deliberate). We’ve all seen news stories about how a so-called “celebrity” has gone on to Twitter, and immediately gained thousands of followers. The consequence is that one’s Twitter following becomes a measure of fame – and that supposed fame can then be leveraged with PRs, agents etc.

    In these circumstances the quality of the following is irrelevant – it’s the quantity which is judged as a measure of “celebrity”. And yes, investigation could reveal that followers had been bought, but it means sifting through all of the followers and individually distinguishing the genuine fans.

    In terms of sophisticated social media marketing, targeting a genuine audience, of course it is pointless – but as a means of leveraging “celebrity”, one can see why it might be used.

  •!/mark_b_o_y mark BOY

    I agree to a certain extent.

    The focus should be on engagement and influence not pure numbers.

    However, for the bigger brands on Facebook, it can be a great way to create another PR story. Rhianna’s FB page bought in hundreds of thousands of likes to become the most liked. Its what you do with those likes that counts!

    Anyone who buys Twitter followers has completely misunderstood the use Twitter serves. Its all about conversation, so if the users you bought aren’t switched on to what you’re saying then you’ve just wasted your money. A smaller, more engaged community of followers is vastly more valuable than a mass of bots & #teamfollowback types.

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