Should I buy likes and fans for my social media profiles?

Keep calm and stop buying followers

“Bonjour Cendrine,
Do you offer guest blogging services in French?
I am looking for writer to write and publish articles about social media on related websites to improve my website rankings (SEO). I launched a French website selling Youtube views, Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers etc… I am interested in hiring you for a weekly blog post on my website.
Let me know,
Merci, XXXX”

“Hello XXXX,
Thank you for your email.
I appreciate your offer, but buying fans and views is against my policy.
As a result, I will have to refuse your offer.
Best regards,
Cendrine Marrouat”

“Hi Cenrine,
Thank you for your reply.
I know what you mean, I also hire an english social media writer who is against buying views and fans, but she writes blog posts for me under a fake name and makes $4000 per month from all the work I give her. I can give you a lot of regular work.
If you change your mind let me know,
Thank you,
XXXX”

This email exchange happened a year ago. Had things stopped there, it would have never made it into this article. Unfortunately, some people do not seem to understand that “no” means “no.”

The person decided to push their luck on my Facebook Page by publicly asking me to tell others about the offer. My answer was simple: No one I knew would accept it.

“We are not thieves,” they stated. “According to many social media experts, buying fans and followers on social networks is a good way to get started in social media. Apparently, you don’t need to make money like the rest of us.”

I responded accordingly — and so did a friend of mine. Unfortunately, the person deleted the thread before I had time to take a screenshot.

As a social media professional, I could write a book on those offers. They land in my Inbox quite regularly. However, I would not be the only one. Why? Because the fake follower industry is booming right now.

According to a recent study conducted by two Italian security researchers, those involved in selling fake traffic, likes, and follows (respectively on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) make millions of dollars. Their customers? Some of the most famous brands, politicians, and musicians this side of the world.

Let me say this: It is NOT what social media should be.

Would you bribe people to get good reviews, buy your products, or make your business look good offline? Of course, not! So, why is such a practice so widespread online?

Sure, brands with hundreds of thousands of Twitter or Facebook subscribers are attractive. With such a big audience, they must be good, right?

Well, look past the numbers and observe what they share. How do they interact with others? You will quickly understand if they have cheated their way into fame or grown their audience organically.

Likes and follows do not equate successful connections. If they did, buying that kind of support would result in real interest and interactions. Instead, expect robot accounts and random “fans.”

More than 16 million of Justin Bieber’s Twitter followers are fake or empty accounts. The accounts of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears are also right there.

Another example. Google recently decided to start auditing view counts on YouTube videos to remove fraudulent activity. This is what the company has to say about fake traffic:

“When some bad actors try to game the system by artificially inflating view counts, they’re not just misleading fans about the popularity of a video, they’re undermining one of YouTube’s most important and unique qualities.”

If you want to win at social media, focus on organic growth. Because your 500,000+ Twitter or Facebook followers are only impressive the first time we see the number. Afterwards, our attention will turn to your message, ethics, transparency, and approachability.

So, the next time you wonder how you could increase your following, take an honest look at your current audience instead. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are these people?
  • What do they want or need from me?
  • Why did they decide to follow me?
  • How do they respond to what I share?
  • Do I acknowledge them enough or just broadcast content?
  • And most importantly: Do I really have the time to handle a bigger audience?

Social media is not a numbers game.

The size of your audience does not matter.

What matters, though, is the people who are part of it.

Little Big eBook on Social Media Audiences

A genuine breath of fresh air in the stuffy atmosphere of me-too books written by social media practitioners who, frankly, have forgotten the most important element of all: people. – Suzan St Maur, author & founder of HowToWriteBetter.net

Learn more


Comments

  1. says

    This is such a brilliant article, Cendrine. Kudos! Now I could share this with a few of my clients who always nudge me to help them increase their following on social media by such unethical means. You have put this point so well that after all quality more than quantity matters in social media. Even if brand has 1000 loyal followers who love the brand, buy its products and interact with the brand message – it is worth more than having 10000 fans who don’t care about the brand, buy its products not engage with the brand in anyway. Remarkable. I am booking marking this article for future reference. 

  2. says

    I love those “expert” types who just keep going!  They really don’t have a clue what social media is all about!  Couldn’t agree more about buying followers, it is becoming more prevalent here in the UK, however I can spot them a mile!  Great article Cendrine – as always a great read and I look forward to sharing! 

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