Want to buy likes and followers? Think again
Never let it be said that we don’t go the extra mile for our customers and friends. Last week I posted on Facebook about a social media management service which was looking for a reliable source of Facebook fans to buy. My initial reaction was shock that they should be blatant enough to post that question. I then looked at their followers and decided that they were mostly purchased.
Now, in some ways, I can understand the temptation. It takes time and effort to build a social media presence and it can be a bit depressing at the start when you’ve got 10 followers on Twitter and the only people who ‘like’ your Facebook page are your family. The thought that for $10 you can suddenly appear to be popular and established is almost irresistible. I mean, $10, not worth arguing about eh? No-one will know where you got them from, what’s the harm in it?
So, just so that you can see what you actually get if you decide to go down this route, I’ve created a brand new Twitter account, posted one tweet and low and behold I have over 12,000 followers! $10 – that’s what it cost. so let’s have a look at what I’ve actually bought.
Look at the Followers on a Twitter account
When you look at this list what exactly do you see? First thing you notice is how many identical twins/triplets/quads there must be in the world because the same profile images keep cropping up again and again. If that doesn’t ring alarm bells then dig a little further. Try clicking on some of the followers on the list – you’ll find that the profile that pops up is of an account which has never sent out a tweet, follows several hundred other accounts and has few or no followers. Be very clear, these are not even people who will ‘like/follow’ anything, they are fake accounts set up purely to be sold. Your ideal customer eh?
If you want to go a bit further and check the other accounts they are following you’ll find lots of followers. Fake followers. Even if their most recent followers are real look a bit deeper and you’ll find plenty more fakes.
It’s like filling a shop with papier-mâché puppets and then saying it’s busy. They won’t talk to you, share your content or buy anything from you.
If you want to check out accounts here’s a quick checklist of things to look out for (particularly important if you want the account holder to help you with social media).
- Check the number of followers and the number of tweets. Unless they are a celebrity the chances of them setting up an account, tweeting a couple of hundred times and getting 12,000 followers without buying them seems to be remote.
- Check the ratio of followers to following – an account that engages with its (real) followers will keep these numbers pretty much in sync.
- Have a look at the followers list – you’ll get a preview of their profile image (same pics keep repeating?) and their bio. Do they sound like the sort of people who would follow that account?
- How many times have they tweeted (fake accounts tend to be very quiet) and how many accounts have followed them (few or none)
- There is a new service that will let you check how many fakes are following you, you can also check other accounts - http://fakers.statuspeople.com/ The results for our newly minted account are clear to see!
Social media is not a quick fix. It won’t mend broken businesses and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and effort to build your social presence with real people, genuine interaction and a building of brand credibility. Don’t destroy that for the sake of a $10 fix.