Thinker statueIt seems like at least once a week, one of the twitter profiles I manage will gain a new follower that will offer Instagram followers, Facebook likes, Google Plus +1’s, and more. They promise x number of followers for x number of dollars. You may have even considered it. I mean it’s a small price to pay for greater exposure, reach, and popularity… right? Wrong! In the name of all that is social, please spend your money in a way that will actually help your business and DO NOT buy followers. A successful social media campaign is earned, not bought.

What’s Wrong with Buying Followers?

Penguin next to cans of SpamIn a word — everything. Quite frankly, if your business is at the point that they need to buy social media followers and fans you’ve got bigger things to worry about. You (hopefully) do not want numbers for the sake of numbers. THESE NUMBERS WILL DO NOTHING FOR YOUR BUSINESS! If they even are real accounts belonging to real people (and a lot of the time they’re not), they’re probably not your target market. Many offers are spammy and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from Google, it’s that spam

Fake Followers can Actually Hurt your Business

The old adage “quality over quantity” may be cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Having a million followers on Twitter is commendable, but if 95% of them are fake and this gets out it could be very detrimental to your business. People want to know that companies are popular because their product or service is exceptional in some way, buying followers does the opposite. Followers are good, but engagement is better and these “followers” will most likely never interact with your page – low engagement can hurt other more important numbers.

What Else Could I do?

If you want increased reach to better advertise to your customers, you’re going about it the wrong way. I am a big advocate of social media advertising and therefore more than a little biased, but it is a much use of your money. Social media advertising is a way you can reach your customer base and market towards a broad (or specific) audience. These fans may cost more initially, but they have the potential to convert into paying customers.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are substantial fan bases. These things require time, patience, and perseverance. Although the prospect of cheap followers may seem tempting, remember that there are more effective ways of gaining valuable followers and that fake followers can damage your business’ reputation. I’ve only been working at Big Leap for about 4 months, but I know for a fact that there are better ways to grow your business’ online presence.

Jamie Bates