Why buying followers on social media for your company is a bad idea

5 reasons why buying followers on social media can ruin your marketing efforts

By Bhageerath Reddy

So you are running a business or a company and you just created a new page or profile on a social network; or you are the one who is running profiles on social media from months but couldn’t reap out good follower count.

“We are here to help you!”, “Get 10,000 followers instantly!”, says those tens of hundreds of websites which want to lure users to complete some random offer or download an app (or sometimes even pay for it). No, no, I am not talking about the authenticity of the websites. Whether or not they keep their promise of getting you instant followers after you are done with the enrolling process, is not my concern. My question is, even if you do get thousands of followers in a couple of hours; is it worth it?

In this generation where most of the world is connected through social media, small businesses find a lot of potential in marketing their products on leading social networking because it allows you to actively engage with wide variety of markets, build up your brand and give a personality to your company which people can interact with.

However, as social media becomes an increasingly important feature in online marketing landscape, the thirst for increasing the number of followers on them is also increasing exponentially. There is enormous pressure on companies to have huge number of followers and appear more popular. More the number of followers, more popular the brand name! To meet these increasing expectations, companies are forced to buy fake followers from many online services.

While having thousands of genuine followers for your brand is a good sign, there is no need for you to “buy” followers to reach that number. Even if you do buy, all you will achieve is the same; a bigger number on your timeline. And nothing else.

How they work

All those thousands of followers you get after opting for some online services, are actually bots! The services create a software which creates fake accounts and is programmed to follow a page or like a picture. Most of the times, the followers you get are from other countries and everything starting from their username to the profile picture, looks outright fake. There are even instances where fake accounts are named with random alphabets! While the companies claim that all their offerings look legitimate, buying followers for your brand is often violating the terms of that particular social network and might even result in suspension of your account.

Why it is a bad idea

There are many number of reasons why buying followers is a bad idea.

  1. You are just buying a number, not an audience
    The main aim of marketing is to gain loyalty of people and make them use your products. Not all numbers are important. Let’s stop looking at the number of followers and start looking at the actual followers who are engaging with the page. If most of your followers are fake, then what will you get in return except a bigger follower count? It would be interesting if social networks stop showing just the number of followers and show up the figures of actual number of user engagement.
  2. Its easy to see how many fake followers you have
    Most of the services which offer these fake followers usually finish the delivery within 24 hours. For people who are genuinely following your brand page, it won’t take much time for them to realize that the sudden increase in the follower count is nothing but fake. People hate those who cheat and social media is no exception. You might lose many of your loyal followers too!
  3. Its a waste of money
    Even though it looks like you are paying negligible amount of money per follower, when you bring these fake followers in bulk, then the amount might not be so small to digest it easily. Even if it looks small, what are you going to get in return? Those accounts will not like your posts nor comment on it. They will neither make it to your product website or increase your sales. So, why spend money unnecessarily?
  4. You real fans won’t get your updates
    If you are on Facebook and you are promoting your brand page through Facebook ads; then if most of the number of followers are fake, how many number of genuine followers you think are going to receive your promotions?
  5. You lose the relevance of demographic information
    One of the salient features of social media is the amount of demographic information you get. You can know who are your audience, their origin and how you can appeal to them. If there are many fake followers, most of them coming from the same country/region, all the data you receive from the analytics will not be of much use to you.

Measure Engagement; not follower count

Apart from it not being moral to buy followers or get your account suspended in the worst case; numbers are not all that important. Don’t go by the number game or with some other company having huge number of followers. Concentrate on those people who are interested in your product/service. Be it word of mouth or anything, the fame will follow and your brand might be as successful as you always wanted it to be!

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