We all know social Media has a black market for increasing a brand’s consumer engagement. But can these fake followers prove to be more detrimental than helpful?
With appealing advertisements stating “Buy Twitter Followers for less than 1 cent per Follower!” and “1000 Quality Followers for only $14” a startup company may be convinced to throw money at their audience scarcity issue with the idea that these phony fans will yield an authentic audience.
At first thought, the reasoning behind buying fans makes perfect sense: People are hesitant to follow brands if they do not have a fan base. But with a closer look, you will come to realize that this quick fix solution is but a vial of snake oil.
Patience is a Virtue
It is important to remember that online eminence does not happen overnight, and it is rare if it does. Growing your fan base means building a relationship. It takes time and patience to accrue trust. The quickest way to lose a consumer’s credence is to have an army of fake Facebook likes. One quick glance at your audience will reveal whether they are counterfeit. Paid fans are bot-like and spammy—often with celebrity photos as their avatar, nonsense names, posts written in foreign languages and even empty profiles.
An entire online application is devoted to spotting these fakes. StatusPeople aims to “find out how many fake followers you and your friends have”. Still not worried? StatusPeople is known for publicly defaming black marketers, especially those holding top social jobs. Because of this website, Politician Louise Mensch was outed with the diminishing headline “Louise Mensch gains 40,000 ‘robot’ followers” when her twitter account patronage jumped from its initial 66,000 followers to a whopping 105K in mere hours. And they say all publicity is good publicity…
Don’t Fall for Fallacy
Some fan-selling sites will go as far as listing themselves as providers of “targeted USA citizens” who are “real” people. They can homilize their honesty all they want but these allegedly authentic fans still refrain from engaging with your brand. Sure, they just might be living, breathing individuals, but they are doing nothing more than taking up space—creating negative space in turn. Recent findings prove that consumer involvement is what drives a brand to the top. Your company’s Klout score is a rating based on the amount of consumer activity and the interactions exchanged amongst you and your audience. Paid fans will not retweet, repin or share your content, thus resulting in a lower Klout appraisal. Additionally, they will not reflect upon legitimate fan support and never result in an actual sale.
Pulling yourself up from your boot straps and building a credible community from the get go will further knuckle worthwhile results, and you will gain significant information about your true fan base. This can reveal the consumer demographics and trends that are necessary to guide your brand towards future prosperity. In addition to hurting your marketing efforts, paying for an audience puts you at risk of losing your social media account altogether. While its not illegal, social media websites such as Facebook and Pinterest clearly state their prohibitions and execution enforcements to those holding intentions against their policy. A suspended account will force you to start all over again from step one. Plus, with Facebook’s 83 million fake accounts already in existence, how likely do you think consumers will be to stick around? Purchasing “likes” puts you into the category of Facebook heretics. This is true across all social media measures: views on YouTube, plays on SoundCloud, and followers on Tumblr.
Claiming your credibility is simple. Try not to focus on numbers so much by aiming for quality over quantity. Remain communicable and create content with your target audience in mind. Give them material worthy of subscribing to. These discernible tactics should amount to real relationships based on two-way engagements. Avoid social media shame by refusing to fall for instant gratification and soon enough your fan base will rise.
What are your thoughts on buying fans and followers? Would you endorse it or stay far far away? Share your thoughts with us below.