Why You Shouldn’t Buy Followers, Fans, or Likes as part of your Social Media Marketing Strategy

When settings out to plan a Social Media Marketing Strategy, gaining more followers on your social media profiles is going to be an important measurement to the majority of people. But what good are followers, likes, or fans, if they won’t engage or pay any interest to your brand?

For people who buy their likes or followers, this doesn’t seem to bother them. But it should, because it’s a waste of money, and could be doing more damage than good.

Everyone has looked at a business or competitor, and wondered what made them get so many followers. What are they doing so amazing they amassed them thousands of followers? For well-known brands, it’s not really an issue.

Take @Samsung with 1.07million followers. Do they do a good job on Social? Sure, but that’s not the reason they’re boasting over a million fans. For smaller businesses who aren’t household names, growing a fanbase can be tricky; but it’s worthwhile. What’s not worthwhile, is buying a horde of followers.

Why not to buy likes

So why exactly shouldn’t you buy followers? Why wouldn’t you want to impress customers and competitors with your newly found thousands of followers?

The number itself isn’t important, really

No-one has social media just to have a large following. It’s what you do with the following that brings value. If you had 10,000 followers, but none of them found your content interesting, or spent money with your business, then the 10,000 number becomes redundant. Sure, it may impress the odd person who stumbles across your page, but this number needs to convert or it is useless.

They don’t care about your brand or business

Any followers or fans you may get out of these deals, will not care about your brand or business whatsoever. The followers you want are the ones who have actively searched out and liked your page, or have stumbled across your profile and followed you, because they thought it was something they may be interested in.

Many “paid for” followers are completely fake profiles

At the end of the day, where do you think these companies are getting these likes from? Do they have access to thousands upon thousands of people’s profiles to like certain pages? Do they pay all these people to like pages? Even if they were real people liking your page, they are doing it because they’re being told or paid to; not because they like your business. And what good is that?

For argument’s sake, even if these fake followers did decide to retweet or engage with your updates, what good would that bring? No-one would be following a fake profile knowingly, and would not care what they had to say. So any extra reach you gain from engagement with fake followers is also useless.

It’s easy to detect fake followers

Anyone can easily view who followers your business, and if it comes up with a heap of fake or blank profiles by the hundreds or thousands, it’s pretty clear you’ve bought them.

Alternatively, there are free online tools available which track changes in followers or likes; and if your follower number has gone up by a few thousand overnight, people are going to know what is going on there.

And if someone were to discover you had purchased your fans or followers, do you think that would reflect well on your company? Nope, not one little bit. It shows you don’t really care about your fanbase, and will take the easy way out to get ahead in the game. If you have a dedicated fanbase who care about your brand, that is going to reflect very well on your business; showing you care about customers, and that customers care enough about your brand.

Where are they based?

What good are followers from Asia is your company only deals with customers in the UK? Having fans from far-flung places around the globe is fine, sure. But if you’re going to pay for the right to gain followers, they had better be useful. And if you don’t ship to or serve where they reside, it’s a useless cause anyway (if they’re real, that is).

It’s a waste of money

What you’re paying for, is a number that looks good for people who view your profile. That’s pretty much it. And in reality, the people that only care about this minor metric are not the best followers to have anyhow. More fans does not mean you will have more mentions, views, clicks, interactions, mentions, or anything else.

It detracts from the number of people who see your posts

With exceptions of social networks such as Twitter which display chronological updates, fake fans could be damaging to the reach of your updates, especially on Facebook.

Despite the fact Facebook haven’t officially used EdgeRank for some time now, there is still an algorithm to weigh up the affinity, weight, and time decay of posts (amongst an array of other factors) in order to display relevant and timely posts to users. This means that the more irrelevant people that are seeing your post and not engaging, means that they will be displayed to less people who will actually care. So it would be much better to have a smaller number of loyal fans who will actually read and engage with your posts, and having all of them see each update regularly.

So what’s the alternative to buying fans?

Instead, spend time and money on cultivating a following. If you’re keen to get followers as soon as possible, invest in advertising on the platforms (although I’d still be wary about purely advertising your page to like, as it’s been proven that this is still a shady area). Promoting your content on various networks can find fans that truly enjoy your content, and love what your business does. These are the kind of people you want to have following your profile, as they will be more likely to interact and read your future content and updates.

Having a handful of engaged and interested fans is infinitely more rewarding and profitable than having a legion of fakes or uninterested followers. If 10 devoted customers are commenting and sharing your updates on a regular basis, their friends will see, who may be similarly inclined to like your business, and may be interested in what you have to offer. People share content because they think their friends will find it useful or interesting; so having devoted followers is a key aspect of any social media marketing strategy. Finding an audience that is interested in your niche or industry can provide a platform to create ongoing business with new customers, and continue growing your fanbase into the future.

Tying your Social Media strategy into your overarching Digital Marketing strategy is vital to growing your business online, and here at Xanthos Digital we have been developing and fine-tuning strategies for some time. If you need a hand in creating or refreshing your Digital Marketing Strategy, give us a call on 08450 740 068 or contact us here.