Fake Twitter Followers - image courtesy of blog.conduit.com

Busted: Why Buying Twitter Followers Makes You A Fake

Each week I get at least a dozen “people” who start following me on Twitter with the sole intention of trying to get me to buy followers.  Needless to say, I don’t follow back and, more importantly I don’t buy followers.  While this is point of debate for some, I don’t believe in buying followers.  I think that it makes a person or a corporate brand a fake – A big inauthentic fake and here are the reasons why:

1. You Underestimate People

Social media practitioners preach authenticity.  Most of these practitioners that I know, are marketers by the way and they also preach authenticity.  “You have to be real” we say.  So, how can you be real and authentic if you are buying followers?

Yes, it is nice to have followers and a large network.  It makes us feel important.  And sure, when we see others with a large following we might automatically think that they are important and respected, etc. etc. And, they just might be!  I know many of the people I respect have large networks.  Then there are others that I hold in the same light and their “online” networks are not so large.  It’s all about perspective.

That being said, what do you think about a brand (a person or a corporate brand) that turns out to be not what you thought?  You might feel cheated right?  You may even be angry that you believed in someone or something that isn’t quite what they claimed. What if the person or corporate brand you followed on Twitter was suddenly exposed as having bought most their Twitter followers?  Would you be upset?

There are many tools to test the validity of followers, including those of your favourite brand.  One example is  Status People.  I ran a test on my Twitter Profile and found that I had “0% Fake,” phew!  And, these tools are usually free and available for people to check his or her own Twitter handle, or the Twitter handle of someone else.  And don’t think that people aren’t doing this for regular people. It isn’t just there for celebrities and politicians.

Test of @MacLeanHeather

Test of @MacLeanHeather

So, don’t just talk the walk…walk the talk boys and girls.

2.  Don’t forget the “Social” in Social Media

The original purpose of social media was to connect with “people,” share information and communicate like we have never communicated before, regardless of where you are.  So, that being said, social media has enabled us to reconnect with family and friends AND to connect with new people who have the same or similar interests to us.  The common word here is “connect”.  And, while some people have very large networks of real social media connections, most of us “still” want to get to know people on some level.

The same goes for marketing.  For the first time, we could connect with our customers and prospects in new ways and, at a very personal level. Despite this, many of us seem to forget social is different.  We seem to approach social media marketing with the “same old, same old” mentality of mass marketing and “push-only” messages. Some of us don’t even listen to what our audience is communicating about us, let alone to us.

When you are buying followers, there is no connection. Period!

3. You Don’t Understand “Audience”

When you are buying followers, you are buying numbers and not an audience.  When you have an audience, you have “people” who are interested in what you have to say.  You can engage with real people.  They can ask you questions and share information with you and vice versa.  When you buy followers, you aren’t getting engagement.  Just how many of those followers do you even think are real?  When was the last time that you were asked if you would like to sell your “following” status?  Ah…never, right?  If someone is telling you that they can get you additional exposure by selling you followers, reread this post and repeat as necessary.  You are buying empty fake Twitter accounts just to inflate your number of followers.  Empty = empty results.

There is no shortcut to building an audience and your creditability.  Take your time.  Find your voice and have fun getting to know people – both those with their own Twitter accounts and those behind the handles of the brands of companies.

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