Hazards of Buying Followers on Social Media
The competition is fierce for gaining new followers and for obtaining new prospects for your business via social media, which makes it understandable that companies might go to great lengths to augment their lists of followers. Other enterprising companies are well aware of this fact and provide offers to various businesses to give them the names of followers at a very low rate, which can make it seem very appealing.
With social media platforms constantly promoting paid advertising as the best vehicle for businesses, it can be even more attractive for some companies to take advantage of these low-offer deals to acquire new customers. However, there are a number of reasons why these type of offers sound a lot better than they actually turn out to be, and there are legitimate reasons why you’d be better off avoiding them.
Purchased followers add nothing to long-term engagement
The sad truth is that most of the so-called followers provided by third-party companies are bot accounts, and are not real people at all. The most that these bots are capable of is providing an occasional comment in a few brief words, which can make it seem like they’re actual followers, but which mask their real identities. Your company brand has no need for followers of this type because they’re not truly going to engage with any of the content you ever post on social media.
Long-term engagement is the aim of most marketing and advertising professionals, and the content they post is a reflection of that. When bogus followers have been purchased at $5 per head, they’re almost always non-human followers who aren’t even looking at your posts. If you think you’ve been victimized by purchasing some of these fake followers, there’s a fairly simple test to identify them. Accounts like this usually have a blank profile picture, they usually have very few photos associated with them, and there’s almost always a total absence of any kind of interaction on their part. Forewarned is forearmed.
Bogus followers are sometimes simply spammers
The majority of the fake followers that you might purchase from an unreliable third-party are usually bot accounts, but some were actually created for the express purpose of spamming. In purchasing such followers, your brand’s account is made vulnerable to a whole slew of potential spamming posts. Assuming that you provided your email address to the third party from whom you purchased your followers, you will also have given away your email address to an entity which might then spam you for the remainder of your life.
Even worse, everyone on your list of followers who’s legitimate can also be spammed by the fake follower, whether they signed up for any such information or not. When your followers become aware of the fact that they are being spammed as a result of their association with you, you can just bet that they will un-follow you in a heartbeat. This constitutes a double whammy, because not only are you being mercilessly spammed over and over again, but you are losing legitimate followers who once had the potential to become real customers. The lesson to be learned here is that it’s simply not worth jeopardizing a legitimate fan base by introducing a questionable group of followers, just for the sake of adding more numbers.
You could be banned from social media
Every one of the most popular social media platforms goes out of their way to discourage clients from purchasing large numbers of followers to increase their list of leads and prospects. The platforms do their part to discourage this kind of activity by routinely conducting purges of followers who are determined to be fake. If you have purchased any of these followers from a questionable third-party, that means a number of the followers you’ve just bought can be terminated by the platform where you purchased them. Overnight, you may lose a considerable portion of your followers list.
That’s not the end of it either. When any of the social media platforms discover that you have been involved in purchasing large numbers of followers from someone, they all have the right to terminate your account. If any of your regular customers find out that you’ve been engaged in questionable business practices like this, they will also break off any association with you, and your account’s credibility will suffer immensely. In actual practice, when your business is found to have engaged with the purchase of a number of followers, you will receive a warning from the platform for a first-time offense. If there is a second offense which you’re found guilty of, you’re quite likely to have your account banned and disabled.
The bottom line
The truth is that none of the risks associated with buying fake followers is worth it in any way, because they simply cannot satisfy your objectives as a business. The whole point of using social media platforms is to increase the number of conversions you get and to generate more traffic to your website. With most of the followers that you purchase being bots and not real people, they’re never going to go to your website, and they’re never going to make a purchase from your business.
This makes it a total waste of time to try to boost your count of followers because you’re not going to receive any business benefit regardless of how many followers you accumulate. There is a famous experiment which was conducted by HootSuite to find out the value of purchasing followers on an Instagram account. In this experiment, HootSuite purchased followers from a less than desirable third-party, then made several posts to see what kind of engagement they got from their new followers.
To no one’s surprise, they get zero engagement in the months following the purchase, and in fact, found out that the followers they had bought were accounts with no posts at all, and that some of them were actually bots promoting Internet porn. The truth is, purchasing fake followers from anyone is simply a very bad practice which reaps no benefits whatsoever, but can open your company up to a number of serious problems.