In the world of social media (and social media marketing), size matters. This is a world where people are fond of data (in the same way the Cookie Monster is “fond” of a good chocolate chunk baked treat). How many followers do you have? How many people do you follow? How many tweets do you send? What’s your engagement rate? This obsession with numbers can drive even the most grounded tweeter mad, and naturally, it can lead many individuals (and businesses) to wonder, should I be buying followers for my account?
Did you hear that? It was the deafening outcry of the die-hard Twitter purists, just heard around the world. “N-O!” they shout, “absolutely not.” According to these traditionalists, purchasing Twitter followers will result in low engagement, loss of integrity, and an epidemic of loose morals (I might have extrapolated that last one, but then again, maybe not). But rumour has it Lady Gaga’s done it, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and TSwift too. Even Katy Perry, and she’s snagged the #1 Twitter spot! So if some of social media’s biggest players are doing it, why not you?
Perhaps this decision can benefit from a Pro / Con list, after all, if it worked for Rory Gilmore, it can work for you too. Let’s take a look.
More followers -> More followers
Having a large follower base will make your Twitter profile look more appealing (and potentially more credible) to potential new followers. If someone views your profile and you only have a few hundred people paying attention to what you tweet, they may not be inclined to think that what you have to say is very important. But if you’ve got a large following, it’s human nature that people will think you’re someone who they need to listen to, and they’ll follow you to ensure they don’t miss out.
One enterprising young social media startup tested this theory. They created two Instagram accounts for similar products, one they allowed to grow organically, and one they “boosted” with 5,000 initial followers. They ran the accounts for three months (with equal amounts of daily liking, posting, and commenting on both accounts) and what did they find? At the end of the trial, the account that received the initial boost, had 30% more real followers compared to the one that started from scratch.
Fast lane to marketing success.
Launching a brand is hard work – just ask any entrepreneur. You might have an amazing product or offering, but the fact is, in today’s social media-obsessed culture, that’s not enough. Want to know which models get booked for the biggest shows? Which bloggers-turned-authors get six-figure book deals? Which startup ideas get the most attention? The ones with the largest social media followings.
Of course there has to be substance to back up a brand, but beyond that, large social media numbers can mean the difference between eyeballs on your website, or the sound of crickets when you log on to Google Analytics. So if you’ve just launched and you don’t have time to build followers from the ground up, purchasing them might put you on the fast track to success.
Even fake followers can give real clout.
A high Twitter following serves as a quantifiable representation of how powerful your online word can be, so even if the numbers aren’t real, the results can be. People have been recruited for positions, posts, and collaborations based on their social media following alone, so if these are the kind of opportunities you’re after, you may be able to leverage a high following to get what you want. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger – we didn’t make the rules, but if they’re there, you might want to consider playing by them. Besides, if we’re going to split hairs, is purchasing Twitter followers any worse than paid posts or promoted hashtags on your favourite platforms? And those happen all the time.
Okay, so we know there are some compelling reasons to consider making the purchase. How about the reasons against?
Fake followers are nothing more than an army of robots.
Often when you buy Twitter followers, what you’re really buying is the one-click endorsement of a bunch of mindless spam bots. They won’t like your posts, or re-post them. They’ll never engage in a two-way dialogue debating the merits of the U.S. presidential candidates, politically-correct Halloween costumes, or the appropriateness of activewear on the streets. They’ll be a number in your Twitter stats and that’s pretty much it. Is that the kind of follower you really want to have?
Instead of buying straight up followers, why not pay to grow your audience in a smarter, more targeted way? Using something like a Twitter Counter campaign, you can reach real people who might be interested in following your account (it’s worked for Netflix, YouTube, Red Bull, and more). Your numbers grow with actual Twitter users who may then also engage and help spread your brand far and wide.
Fake followers may do more harm than good.
There are a ton of sites that offer followers for a fee. Not all of them are legit. Some of them will take your money and deliver bupkis in return (plus, they’ll now have your credit card details). Some of them will hack, phish, and infect your real followers, who we’re guessing will not be happy about it. So you’ll have trashed your reputation for the promise of a few extra likes. Doesn’t really seem like a fair trade.
Oh the shame.
This is a tricky one. With tools like the Fake Follower Check, Twitter Audit, and Bot or Not, it’s pretty easy to discover who’s got real followers and who’s talking to an audience of binary code. The tricky part is, do you care? Some people would be mortified to be found out. Others consider it the cost of entry to the social media marketing field. Where you fall on that spectrum, only you can say, but individuals, and especially big business, should examine the potential negative consequences to their reputation before going down the paid followers path.
Like it or not, the social media industry is a numbers game. Choose to buy followers or choose to abstain. The decision is yours. But it’s pretty much a given that other businesses and individuals are doing it. The only question is, will you join in? There are ways to gain followers that may garner quality over quantity. Consider those. And always remember to adapt as your audience becomes more savvy.
Interested in growing your following? Twitter Counter can help. Gain followers. Track engagement. Achieve your Twitter marketing goals. Start now at TwitterCounter.com