Buy Twitter Followers? You’re Not Buying Anyone Who Cares

Filed in Social Media by Matt McGee on July 19, 2012 9 Comments

twitter-100I touched on the idiocy of buying Facebook fans (or Twitter followers, it’s the same idea) earlier this year. If you do it, you risk looking really stupid.

But I have to share this quote from Mitch Joel on the same topic. His blog post will be in the “Best of July” roundup at month’s end, but I wanted to make sure this much was noticed now, too:

Here’s the dirty little secret: buy all the fans, friends, followers and likes that you want. Once they click on your link, you’re dead to them. These consumers (who are not even real consumers) don’t see you, share you or care about you. So, what did those numbers get you? Do you feel good when you put your head down on the pillow at night? Don’t. Because, if you’re just buying likes and not actually finding true fans, the only thing more fraudulent than buying fake fans is the way you’re governing your own career.

Sorry to be harsh. But fake is fake and, in social media, there’s nothing lower.

I think that’s very well said. You can buy numbers, but you can’t buy care.

Comments (9)

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  1. Holly says:

    You might also like this read by an account manager at Porter Novelli. As an experiment, Bill Rundle purchased Twitter followers and wrote about what happened next:

    http://porternovelli.co.nz/news-and-views/article/is-buying-twitter-followers-ethical

  2. Jon Rhodes says:

    Yep, you can’t buy a loyal follower, they must be earned. The way to do it is usually to give them loads of help for free. It always surprises me online how many people think that visitors, fans and followers can just be bought and sold.

  3. Dan says:

    I agree with the overall concept of your post. I can however say that it has been noted (by many people in the SEO/Social/Marketing industry) that having a higher following can lead to more natural/organic followers.

    It’s sad to think many people judge users purely on their follower count but it’s very true. So whereas you can’t buy care directly, buying followers can lead to a larger growth of real followers.

    • Matt McGee says:

      Dan, I understand that there’s a herd mentality out there and people may tend to follow people because they have a lot of followers. But as I said in the comment above, I still don’t see any value in that. Do you want people to follow you because they really care about you, or because everyone else is doing it? I’ll take the people that really care over the herd.

  4. Good discussion. I also agree with you that you can buy fans but can’t buy real care & loyalty, you have to earn it, but again from reverse point of view, buying fans would give you a mileage to get you the real fans, initial attention and care. Human psychology is strange and when people saw many other people are already fans of a site, a psychology works that “lets join or try” and from that single attention, if the site does well, they get loyal fans & things go viral.

    So I think at the initial struggling stage of promoting a brand, buying fans/followers is not that bad. You just need to be careful & to keep a balanced approach. Even for a very good quality product, at initial days, you need marketing/advertisement to get attention of potential customers & in marketing we all know 100% is not true always. You have to be bit tricky without compromising the quality. that’s it….Part of promotional strategy…Once you get the gear, things go smooth and open up new opportunities.

    • Matt McGee says:

      Respect your opinion, Debajyoti, but I disagree. If you have to buy fake fans in order to impress people into becoming real fans … you’re doing wrong.

  5. I see validity in both sides of the argument. I don’t think anyone is going to become your fan JUST BECAUSE there are a bunch of people doing it. But I do think that the influence strategy of social proof is alive and well. If someone sees that Blogger A has 3 fans and Blogger B has 3,000 fans who consistently comment on the posts, I’d be more likely to believe that Blogger B is better connected and is the expert. But that’s the key — if there are 3,000 fans and no comments…something’s fishy.

  6. Kent says:

    100% agree, modern marketers too focus on numbers and ignore conversion rate. Maybe they fear to face the conversion rate. Getting numbers of fans, twitter followers, connections on Linkedin are much more easier than getting the right conversion rate.

  7. Laura Briere says:

    Matt, you couldn’t have said it better! There’s nothing worse than being fake in social media (or in real life). One of the things I always say on this topic is “be real”. Be yourself, be real, don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right, and for the love of marketing, do NOT buy people! ;)

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