Everyone wants to be popular; it’s human nature. So it can feel a little lonely and discouraging when you’re starting out on a social media channel, and you have only a handful of followers or friends. The temptation can be great to find followers fast, and it sounds so easy to pay a few dollars to instantly gain a respectable number of followers. If you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time, you’ve no doubt been followed by someone touting that they can sell you 10,000 followers for $39, or some such number. It feels like these accounts are everywhere. All you need to do is type “buy Twitter followers” on Fiverr®, and up pops a bevy of options.
Facebook isn’t immune either. It’s not hard to find places to purchase “likes” for your Facebook business page. Facebook has even acknowledged that 83 million of its accounts are fake. That’s 8.7% of all Facebook accounts! And of those, 1.5% are spam accounts. Enticing as it may be to go the easy route, don’t be too hasty to artificially inflate your numbers. Here are some great reasons why you should never buy social media followers or likes:
Fake followers offer zero engagement.
Think about why your business is using social media in its marketing efforts. Is it to have a bunch of empty accounts following you, those with no interest in the products and services you offer? Most likely, your answer is no. What makes social media so valuable is the potential for engagement. You should aim to use social media to foster relationships and build a community. You want people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. It’s better to have 100 engaged followers who meaningfully interact with you than to have 100,000 bots artificially pumping up your follower stats.
You may end up spamming your followers.
You don’t really know who you’re buying followers from, if you decide to go that route. Some of the offers are pure scams; they’ll take your money and run. Others have the sleazy practice of essentially taking over your account and blasting spam, which will tarnish your company’s good name. Your legitimate followers may not take too kindly to getting posts from your account urging them to buy followers from one of these companies—or something worse. Talk about unprofessional! As a result of this unwanted spam, you may end up losing the few real followers you have.
You can harm your reputation.
Buying followers is considered an unsavory practice by many. If people discover that you’ve bought your followers, they may think less of your business and wonder if you partake in other questionable business practices. It’s easy enough to figure out who has bought fake followers using apps such as Fake Follower Check from StatusPeople. Just type in an account name, and up will pop their fake followers. In addition to harming your reputation by buying friends and likes, you may even risk having your account deleted or suspended, which will bring your social media marketing efforts to a crashing halt.
Learn about legitimate ways to grow your following.
The good news is, it’s not that difficult to grow your followers and likes the right way. It may not happen overnight, but you’ll get meaningful results. The best way to do it is by offering something of value. Give people something they want. Obviously, what is considered valuable will depend on your type of business and your customers, but you can’t go wrong with entertaining and educational content. Here are a few tips you can use to grow your followers on Twitter or get more people to like your Facebook page:
- Post quality content — This may be original content, but it can also be links to relevant articles about your industry.
- Increase your followers on Twitter by following relevant people — They’ll most likely follow you back, and you can grow your numbers from there. Especially try to get the attention of influencers in your industry. A simple retweet from one of these bigwigs is sure to gain you new followers and expand your reach.
- Tweet or post at the optimum times — One study found that for Twitter, this is around 1 to 3 PM Monday through Thursday. For Facebook it’s 1 to 4 PM.
- Promote all of your social media accounts wherever you can — This means on your website, business cards, email signature, and by word-of-mouth.
- Use hashtags to connect with other social media users.
- Be active and consistent — If you never post anything, you’ll likely lose followers. Social media is not a one-and-done deal. You need to continually provide fresh content to gain new followers and keep the ones you’ve got.
- Cross-promote your social media accounts — You may have 10,000 Twitter followers but are just getting your Instagram account or Facebook page going. Let your Twitter followers know about your new page! It’s free advertising.
Check out these tools.
Growing a fan base takes time, but there are ways to streamline the process. There are many tools, at all different price points, that make it easier to grow your friends and followers and make the seemingly neverending tasks associated with social media a little less arduous. You don’t want to be completely automated, but there are programs that increase engagement and help you save time, especially if you are managing multiple accounts. Programs such as ManageFlitter can make it easier to find relevant people in your industry to follow on Twitter and can help you determine the best times to get your tweets seen by your followers. Programs such as Hootsuite™ and buffer allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time and across multiple social media outlets. Building a meaningful social media strategy won’t happen overnight. It may be frustrating to wait, but buying fake followers and likes will do nothing to improve your image or promote your company on Twitter or Facebook. A large fake following may temporarily boost your ego, but that’s about it. By establishing real, relevant connections on social media, you’ll see more engagement, which will lead to more interest in what you have to offer. And isn’t building relationships what social media is all about?