Just as in the real world, the social media world is full of tempting opportunities offering short cuts to social stardom. When you’re just starting out and trying to build a following, it can often feel silly to be frequently posting about something you care about while being fully aware that no one is listening. While you’re contemplating the discomfort of being alone in the Twitter-verse, you might get an advertisement saying that you can easily skip this difficult phase by getting 1,000+ followers in no time – for a price. Too good to be true? We say yes. There are a number of risks you take when deciding to buy your followers rather than grow your following organically:
- The disappearing act — Most of these accounts are created for the sole purpose of becoming a fake follower and will likely disappear after a brief time. It’s a quick fix to bump your numbers, but those numbers may drop just as quickly in the weeks following your purchase.
- They’re not real friends / fans — When you pay a service for generating a crew of fake followers, you’re really getting placeholder accounts that are more than likely inactive. While the number on your followership heading may take an impressive leap, none of these accounts will be contributing anything to your engagement score or driving traffic to your other channels and websites. In this case, it’s much more beneficial to your brand to have a low number of followers that are consistently liking your posts, using your hashtags, and sharing your account with their friends than having an army of robots that only make you appear popular.
- If it looks like spam, it’s probably spam — In some cases, these services end up spamming the following that you did grow organically, putting those relationships at risk. Many will require you to grant access to your account so that they can send out similar advertisements about purchasing followers from your username. This can very quickly have your real friends questioning what value you’re contributing to their feeds, and you may very well end up losing followers just as quickly as you bought them.
- Putting your credibility and integrity at risk — There are services like Fake Follower Check (http://www.followercheck.co) that anyone can use to see how much of your following is organic. With this level of transparency not only readily available these days but also sought after, you could very easily be caught. While it’s technically not against any laws or rules to purchase your followers, it’s unimpressive to people that are looking for value in the accounts they interact with. No one wants to be considered a fraud, especially when they’re trying to build a solid reputation that will prepare them for the long haul. Before purchasing the quick fix, consider what kind of regard you hope to have earned a few years down the road. Is it worth the risk?
- Fake friends aren’t forever — When it comes to building a following, it’s best to focus on building a community of people that value and support your brand and its success. The most advantageous relationships are those with people that are personally invested in your growth. It’s about quality, which may start out as low quantity, but is much more likely to become a large and vital network of loyalty over time.
In this case, slow and steady seems to be the name of the game. The struggle of finding your voice and your character as you build your brand is part of the journey. The more time spent on being purposeful and practicing integrity during this phase, the more unique, interesting, and solid your brand will appear to people in the future. Now more than ever, people are looking for something genuine and reliable that will stand the test of time.
So, what tools are there to help grow a following organically? If you’re still hoping to find a service that can help ease the time and effort demanded of increasing followership, look to those that help target the most relevant people to your brand. Ask questions like: who is most likely to find my content valuable? Who is influential in this area that I’d want to be sharing my content? What accounts are reliably active and would generate engagement?
Make sure you’re utilizing the free services that already exist before going out to purchase anything. Try out websites like Keyhole (http://keyhole.co) and BuzzSumo (http://buzzsumo.com) to find what the most effective hashtags are for a given topic and who the biggest influencers are. If you want your ad spend to be as effective as possible, Twitter and Facebook both offer follower targeting features for your ad strategy. (https://business.twitter.com/en/targeting/follower.html; https://www.facebook.com/business/products/ads/ad-targeting)
For long term success, prioritize making the most impactful relationships now and do your research on what your target audience finds valuable so you can deliver. There’s no shortcut to earning solid and supportive relationships, but real friends beat fake friends any day.
To request a complimentary consultation to discuss growing your community organically, please text Carole Baker at 505-469-4297.