When businesses start using social media, they often focus on their number of Twitter followers, Facebook likes, etc. and desperately want to increase those numbers. That’s why “services” that offer hundreds of thousands of new “real” followers for $5 or $150 can look like a good idea.
But it's notIncreasing your number of followers – or reach – can be instrumental in making your social media marketing more effective. But, having more followers only helps if those followers are real people. You want followers who will notice you in their stream and be interested in what you have to say and sell.
(This video is a parody!)
Don’t forget about your business’s real goals. Your primary goal is probably to sell more of your product or service. In addition, you may have sub-goals that you think will help you get there – like increasing your reach in social media.
Socialbakers developed an interesting tool that allows you to check if your Twitter followers are real or fake (and if you find a high percentage of fake followers you should probably have a discussion with your marketing agency!)
Sometimes it is just too obvious: like the electrical appliances shop in Cyprus that went from 0 to 2500 friends/followers in 40 days and then remained at the same level, probably all the same "friends" that are following the other clients of the same marketing company that generated the first 2500....
Think of it this way: If you’re a real estate agent, one of your goals may be to get more people to show up to your open houses. But, would it make sense to put an ad on Craiglist and offer to pay random people to show up to the open house? I doubt it, because your real goal is to sell the house. What are the odds that one of those people would buy that particular house, or that they’re even in the market for a house?
Getting more followers in social media can help your business get more sales, but only if you are gaining real, qualified followers.
What can buying followers get you?
- A higher number on your profile.
- Less money in your budget.
- A lower conversion rate.
- Bad press and/or snarky tweets.
- Possibly hacked.
- Possibly in trouble with Twitter or Facebook.
- You could easily be back where you started.
In summary: At best, buying social media followers is a waste of money.
So, what are the alternatives? How can you get meaningful followers in social media?
- Be interesting. When you post interesting things in your social media accounts, your real followers will notice and possibly retweet, share or +1 your content – thereby getting in front of more eyeballs that may choose to follow, like or circle you. Also, when someone is considering whether to follow or “like” your page, they will often look at your recent posts to see if they will want to see them in their stream.
- Post regularly. Posting often keeps you on your followers’ radar, and will make it harder for people to forget about you. Also, many people will only see a small percentage of all your posts – either because they follow too many people, they don’t check their account very often, or because Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm only shows them a few posts from the pages they like. So you want to keep post often, so that all your real followers will at least see some of your posts.
- Make the first move. On the social networks that you can follow people as a business page, go for it. They may notice and follow you back.
- Be social. For example, view your stream and reply to interesting posts or tweets. Many people don’t want to follow companies that only push out marketing drivel day after day.
- Let people know you use social media, and make it easy for people to follow you. Does your website have easy buttons or links to your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn pages? Do your email newsletters link to your social presences?
- Facebook ads are a way to indirectly buy likes/fans. You can target your ads to the type of people you would like to see your ad. (Pro tip: Go for the type of people you think might want to buy your product or service.)
- Promoted tweets are another indirect way to buy followers. They get your tweets seen by more (real) people that don’t already follow you, and if they like your tweet, they just might follow you.
(This post is based on an article from Kristina Weis)
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