Below is an email exchange from a few years ago.
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,
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.
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,
But things didn’t stop there. The person left public comments on my Facebook page. They wanted me to recommend other bloggers.
I was annoyed, of course. But I just said that 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.”
My and a friend of mine’s subsequent responses weren’t kind. Unfortunately, the person deleted the thread before I had time to take a screenshot.
Those offers are so common that they could inspire a series of books. The fake follower industry has been booming for years.
Would you bribe people to get good reviews, buy your products, or make your business look good offline? Of course, you wouldn’t! 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 fake fans. Nothing targeted or useful.
According to TwitterAudit, 52 percent 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 — at 55 percent, 61 percent, and 47 percent respectively. (My account is at 1 percent, by the way.)
Another example. A couple of years ago, Google 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.