We've all thought about it, some of us might've even did it in the past. As a business, getting online traction can be difficult. If you're anew business, it's even harder. Most social media platforms are now pushing for paid advertising to get your content in front of fresh faces. Often, brands give in to the temptation to reach more customers and increase engagement on their account. While this may seem like a good idea at the time, there are very important, valid reasons as to why you should not spend your money on buying followers. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Fake followers do nothing for long-term engagement
Most of the followers you buy from unreliable third-party providers aren’t real people and may even be bot accounts. The best engagement you will manage to get from them is an automated great picture” comment. As a brand, you have little to no use for followers who are never going to actually engage with the content you post. When you then post on your social media platforms, your content will be 'shown' to these fake profiles instead of it getting in front of your potential customers. So, how do you spot fake followers? It’s rather simple. These accounts usually include a blank profile picture, few or no images shared, and a general absence of creative interaction.
Fake followers are often spammers
While most of the followers you buy are entirely fake, there are some that were created for spamming. When you purchase followers, you are opening up your brand’s account to a slew of spam posts. Not to mention, if you shared your email address with the third-party provider while making the transaction, you have just handed these people another opportunity to spam you for the rest of your life—and the spamming doesn’t stop at you either.
You might get banned from social media platforms
All the popular social media networks—Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter actively discourage anyone from buying followers. These platforms also regularly purge fake followers, which means you can lose hundreds and thousands of followers (that you paid money for) overnight. Most importantly, they reserve the right to ban your account once they get a whiff of you being involved in external follower buying practices. This will reflect poorly on the credibility of your account. Customers will be less likely to engage with you if you’re caught using dodgy ways to get popular. Most platforms will issue you a warning when you’re caught the first time, however, there might not be a second time for you.
Fake followers don’t contribute to your bottom line
As a business, you’re obviously using these social media platforms to increase traffic and conversions. Since we already established that fake followers are not real people, they will never go to your website and make a purchase—which completely defeats your purpose of creating engaging content to attract paying customers. Therefore, it’s pointless to try and boost your follower count, when you’re not going to benefit from these numbers in the long-run. Hootsuite actually carried out a social experiment to prove a similar point by setting up an Instagram account that was aptly called @fruitless.strategy. They purchased followers for their account and made a few posts to see the results. As expected, they got no engagement for months and discovered the the followers they bought were “a bizarre mix of teenagers posting shirtless selfies, accounts with no posts at all, and more than a few bots peddling webcam porn.”
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