Facebook revealed earlier this moth that 83 million Facebook profiles are fake. It is estimated that there are some 45 million fake Twitter accounts. So why do so many of these accounts exist? Because increasing numbers of people are willing to buy followers and likes.
For a small fee, you can get thousands of fake profiles liking and following you on Twitter and Facebook. For a slightly larger fee, they might even look real, or be actual paid stooges.
Many businesses use these services as a shortcut appearing successful on social media, but the truth is bought likes and followers could actually damage your brand.
Here's why you should focus your efforts on attracting the real deal and avoid buying a fake social media fan base.
1. It damages your integrity
Lets face it, buying fans and followers is dishonest. When your Twitter profile says 20,000 people are following you but in reality it's 50 people and 19,950 bots, you are essentially lying. Not a good impression to give your genuine fans and followers. And they are looking. People know this sort of thing goes one and only need to click on 'followers' to see exactly how fake your audience is. Which bring us neatly to point number 2.
2. It will annoy genuine fans and followers
When you buy thousands of followers for a couple of pence each, you are not exactly putting high value on them. It gives the impression you do not care about interacting and engaging with genuine followers, just boosting your numbers - so why should anyone follow you?
3. It encourages laziness on social media
Buying followers and likes turns social media into a numbers game, which makes for a less innovative and engaging social media presence. After all, if you think the only aim of your Facebook presence is to gain likes, then once you have the likes why try at all? Updates become routine, there for the sake of it, rather than providing interest and value to your fans.
4. Everyone is doing it
OK, maybe not everyone, but a growing number of people are buying fake followers and fans. The more people that do it, the less value the fans and followers you buy have, the more you will need to buy to stand out and the more ridiculous buying fans and followers gets.
5. It has virtually no ROI
At best, fake fans may give the impression you are worth following to real people and encourage a few more genuine likes and followers. But if you aren't supplying the content to support this impression, these real fans won't stay long either. And even if they do, that is not a measure of success itself. Clicking 'like' or 'follow' doesn't mean they are buying your products, talking about your brand or necessarily paying much attention to you at all.
The temptation to buy fans and followers understandable. Traditional marketing and advertising campaigns offer an easy to measure return on investment. Social media is more complex. It offers benefits such as improved customer service, real time market research, crisis management, word of mouth marketing and the chance to directly engage with influential people - but how do we measure the value of this?
While a large following can be a symptom of social media success, it is not the measure of it. When you stop trying to boost your numbers and instead focus on creating content that people want to read, your social media presence will become much more powerful.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you cultivate a real social media presence.