Numbers are big business within the social media landscape. Bloggers have become media fodder thanks to a huge Twitter following and overnight stars have arisen because of a hugely aspirational Instagram account. Building up influence takes a huge amount of time, effort and sometimes money, so it can be awfully tempting to cheat the system and buy your way to the top via unethical channels. With bloggers making serious amounts of cash from their sites and the bloggersphere becoming even more competitive, it’s even harder to maintain growth and prove your value to those interested parties. With the click of a button and only a few dollars, it’s easy as pie to buy yourself a few thousand new followers and fool both readers and brands into thinking you’re more influencial than you are. It’s long been a topic of conversation amongst the community, but buying fake followers really isn’t the way forward – it not only opens a can of worms, but it can impact upon your long-term credibility and place within the bloggersphere.
It’s Easy To Be Found Out
It may seem appealing to buy 1000 extra Twitter followers for the same amount as a Starbucks lunch, but those accounts come with obvious attributions that make them easy to spot. All of these ‘followers’ are completely fake accounts that often have pictures of porn-star-type women or Asian men with dodgy facial hair, partnered with a bizarre username such as ‘loo87fed’ and the same ten generic followers. If you scroll through someone’s account it takes ten seconds to spot a huge lump of followers that fit this profile, especially if the account in question is a beauty or fashion blogger that has limited appeal to 876 Asian men living on the other side of the world. As buying numbers becomes even more prevalent, bloggers and readers are becoming increasingly vigilant at spotting faux accounts and calling them out. I know bloggers that have been forced to close their accounts completely after admitting they’d bought upwards of 50,000 new followers; why jeopardise your hard work by one silly moment of madness?
You’ll Lose Respect
You may have the best blog in the world, write awesome content and have a huge amount of blogger buddies, but as soon as you step over to the dark side all respect vanishes. If you’ve bought a bunch of followers and attempted to deceive both readers and brands that potentially want to work with you, what else have you lied or manipulated your way through? It simply opens a whole can of worms and puts your overall position under scrutiny. The bloggersphere and success of blogs has been built upon the values of honesty, transparency and integrity, so stepping away from this fundamentally undermines the respect you command.
Clearouts Are Inevitable
There’s no getting away from the fact that Twitter implements regular clean-ups to remove inactive and spammy accounts; Instagram have also recently introduced their own clear-out to remove fake accounts which saw some bloggers losing upwards of 20,000 followers. You can buy your way to the number of your dreams, but it may only be temporary – sooner or later those accounts will be shut down as they remain unused and a complete waste of space. In the long-term, you may as well through your money out the window.
It Impacts How Your Content Is Seen
Apart from anything
else, algorithms are in place on sites such as Facebook and Twitter
that impact how often your content is seen and by whom. If you buy
10,000 followers that are totally inactive and therefore don’t engage
with your content (either by reply, commenting, sharing, retweeting or
favouriting) then these networks will assume your posts are a bit naff;
this will reduce your natural exposure. It’s hard enough to ensure posts are seen by more than four people on Facebook and that tweets stick around for longer than thirty seconds, so why would you make it even harder for yourself? It’s just not worth it.
Quantity Vs Quality
In my opinion, 2015 is the year when the swing in balance starts to commence from quantity over to quality. It’s far more valuable to have 1,000 followers that genuinely trust your opinion, engage with your site, buy from your recommendations and act as ambassadors, rather than 10,000 that sit there and do nothing. A lot of these massive vloggers have millions of followers, but a huge percentage are often 14 year olds that only want to tell them how much they love their hair and want to be like them when they grow up. Brands are becoming more and more aware of the value that more relevant and targeted sites have for them, so there’s really no need to fake your way forward. Promise.
Focus On The Good Stuff
If you’re ever tempted to click the ‘buy now’ button, then remember you’ve probably got something really rather awesome under your belt that means a lot to a lot of people. Focus on the good things, the feedback you get from your current community and how great it feels to achieve that mini milestone every time your follower count notches up a little. There’s far more satisfaction in a community and network you’ve build up via hard work, dedication and patience than there is throwing some money at it and winging it.
Were you aware that it was so easy to buy fake followers? Have you ever been tempted to grow your presence in this way? Have you had experience of bloggers or influencers using this method?
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