The temptation is always there to take shortcuts, especially when we’re facing difficult and time-consuming tasks, like building a social media following. Unsurprisingly, some businesses fall for online ads such as:
- “Get more followers”
- “Buy real followers”
- “Real people”
- “We’ll get you real growth”
- “100% Real followers”
However, what exactly are you buying? And more importantly, what is your goal?
Why shouldn’t you buy followers?
Let’s look at the first question, what exactly are you buying? You are purchasing fake accounts (bots) and nothing more. This is the core issue with buying followers; fake followers are not interested in your service, product or brand; hence they will have zero impact on your bottom line. So you have to ask yourself what is the difference between 1,000 followers and 100,000 followers if you don’t see any increase in your leads or sales?
Furthermore, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are continually cracking down on bots/fake accounts, so your fake followers can turn into a disaster overnight. Also, it is important to note that most of the websites offering outlandish social media premises are outside of the US, so they are not subject to U.S laws.
What should you do instead?
Respectable businesses build their followers organically, with 4 simple rules:
- Set measurable goals – different companies will have different goals, but all goals need to be measurable. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage and improve it”.
- Create and share valuable content – your followers will be more than happy to share and like your posts if they are relevant, useful, or interesting.
- Don’t spam – if you don’t have anything meaningful to share, then don’t post it.
- Track important metrics – acquisitions, engagement, conversions, etc.
Also, keep reminding yourself that follower growth is never linear, so don’t get discouraged. It may take you 12 months to get from 0 followers to 1,000 but only 6 months to get from 1,000 to 5,000 followers, and so on.
However, more important than the number itself is that you focus on real followers – people who are following your business because they are interested in your service/product. There is a misconception that you have to have a lot of followers (100,000+) to see a real impact on your business. This is not true, a small group of genuine and loyal followers is worth more to your business than 1 million fake or disinterested followers.
For example, 1,000 local Instagram followers are worth more to a restaurant owner than 100,000 disinterested or fake followers. On a slow night a restaurant owner may post a social media message “Free appetizers from 6 pm to 7 pm”, and some of their 1,000 local followers will act on this promotion, but none of the fake followers will. In simple terms, this is how your followers have a direct impact on your bottom line.
Most things worth doing are difficult and time-consuming, and organically building a social media following is no exception. You will need a good social media strategy and resources to build a following that your business will eventually benefit from. Also, as we mentioned, don’t spend too much time focusing on the number of followers you have. Instead, focus on the 4 simple rules we outlined above.
Related Content: How Small Businesses Benefit from Social Media