Q&A: Should I Buy Social Media Followers?

About once a month, I go through my following list, and I delete a handful of followers. That’s right. I actually go through my list, and I purge any inactive followers from my account.

You want to know why?

Because your follower count doesn’t mean anything.

While it may look impressive to see those high follower counts, the truth is, it’s one of the most useless metrics on social media.

In fact, a high follower count can actually hurt you, especially if a large portion of those followers are fake. Here’s why:

1. Fake Followers Cost You Clicks

If you have a large number of so-called “ghost followers,” accounts that follow you but don’t engage, it actually works against you for most social media algorithms. #MichaelsWilder #socialmediamarketing Click To Tweet

Your engagement rate is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than your follower count. If you have a large number of so-called “ghost followers,” accounts that follow you but don’t engage, it actually works against you for most social media algorithms. The higher your following climbs, the lower your organic reach drops.

That’s because social media sites like Facebook often limit the number of followers who see your content unless that post garners enough engagement. Because fake followers don’t engage like real ones, they actually prevent your post from reaching a larger number of real followers, which means that your conversion and engagement rates will suffer.

2. Fake Followers Don’t Buy Things

Think about why it is that you want a large following to begin with. Is it so you can nab a few sponsorship deals as an influencer? Are you trying to sell a product?

Fake followers won’t help you do either of those things. Any reputable company that leverages influencer marketing knows how to scout promising accounts for a potential partnership. One of the most important metrics they look at is, you guessed it, engagement rate. If you have a low engagement rate, it’s clear that they’d be wasting their money by asking you to promote their product to an uninterested (or outright fake) audience.

If you’re using social media to boost awareness of your own product, again, you’re going to have a hard time achieving that original goal if you buy fake followers because you’ll get killed by the algorithm. Fake followers don’t engage, and they certainly don’t buy products.

3. Fake Followers Ruin Your Reputation

No one wants to feel manipulated, and if it gets out that you’re buying fake followers, you can kiss your real followers goodbye.

And it’s pretty easy to find out who’s buying followers. When you see someone’s account take a massive overnight leap in follower count, that’s usually a pretty good sign that something fishy is going on. You can also take a look at the engagement rate as we’ve previously discussed. Or, the easiest option by far is simply using an online tool (like this one) to see who’s faking it.

Using fake followers to make yourself look more popular is, at best, in the moral grey area, and it begs the question, “If you’re willing to lie to us about this, what else are you lying to us about?


How to Get More Followers the Right Way

If you’re really interested in growing your follower base, you need to take the time to do it right.

You need to learn the platform you’re using, how best to improve your reach (with hashtags, chat groups, etc.), and engage with your audience. Or, if you have money that’s just burning a hole in your pocket, you can also run ads that focus on conversion to a targeted audience. That way, if your content really is good, you’ll know it. (And if it sucks, you’ll know that too).

Whatever you do, just know that there are no shortcuts here. Buying fake followers is never the way to go.

Mike Speer Administrator
Director of Digital Experience, Michaels WIlder

Head of Digital Experience at Michaels Wilder and an entrepreneur since before the average person knew what that even meant, Mike has helped countless businesses build effective sales and marketing strategies. His philosophy is, “If you’re not thinking 10 years ahead, you’re already behind.” Mike’s content has appeared in Forbes Magazine, Inc. and Apple News. He has also been featured numerous times as a “Top 10 Writer” worldwide on the Q&A content site, Quora.

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Mike Speer Administrator
Director of Digital Experience, Michaels WIlder

Head of Digital Experience at Michaels Wilder and an entrepreneur since before the average person knew what that even meant, Mike has helped countless businesses build effective sales and marketing strategies. His philosophy is, “If you’re not thinking 10 years ahead, you’re already behind.” Mike’s content has appeared in Forbes Magazine, Inc. and Apple News. He has also been featured numerous times as a “Top 10 Writer” worldwide on the Q&A content site, Quora.

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