Should You Buy Facebook / Instagram / Twitter Likes And Followers?

One of the most frequent questions we receive at Elda from our social media clients – particularly new accounts – is “should I buy Facebook likes and Twitter followers?” – and our answer is always the same.

You’ve probably got a competitor – or have seen another local business – with thousands of likes on Facebook and you’re stuck on a few hundred, finding it difficult to get to that next milestone. A thousand likes might as well be a million at this point! Are you fed up of seeing one or two likes trickle in on your notifications, when in the early days (just after you invited all of your friends) you were getting loads?

This is the point at which the temptation to artificially boost your account creeps in. After all, a business that has a large social media following is probably worth exploring further, right? Lots of likes, good reviews, seems a bit more trustworthy and secure than a smaller page, right?

When you can pay £10 for 1,000 likes on places like Peopleperhour and Fiverr, it seems like a no-brainer. A tenner to make your page look big and professional… what a bargain!

Possibly… but as you’ll see below, probably not.

We’ve put together this short article to highlight the pros and cons of like and follower buying so that you can decide for yourself if it’s worth doing. (It isn’t by the way – if you can’t be bothered to read the article and just want a straight answer).

Pros

You instantly appear bigger and more popular than you actually are.

This image sums it up pretty well…

As we’ve said above, accounts with a large number of likes appear more established, maybe a little more trustworthy. If thousands of people like them, then they’re doing something right!

That’s it for the pros. We cannot think of any other reason to artificially boost your like and follower numbers other than to get a “quick fix” and, essentially, take a shortcut to the top.

But are you actually at the top?

No. No you aren’t.

Cons

Zero engagement

Engagement is kind of the point of social media.

Why do businesses have social media accounts? It’s to drive traffic, generate leads and ultimately… make a sale. Do you think that the addition of 1,000 people that don’t exist is going to help you in any way to achieve that goal? Obviously not. These “likes” are from people that are never even going to visit your website, let alone buy anything. You will receive nothing in return, other than an appearance of popularity – and even that won’t last very long.

Even if you do get a few likes on your early posts, these will drop off. It will then appear to other, real followers, that your account is losing popularity, not gaining it.

Skewed Analytics

You can’t do much if you can’t read the data!

At Elda, we place a heavy emphasis on analytics and management reporting. We provide monthly analytics reports, alongside a management summary, to all of our social media clients. This details what we have achieved in the previous month, what we hope to achieve in the next month – and what we recommend happens in order for us to reach our targets.

If we have 500 followers on Twitter and an average engagement rate of 3% and we go and buy another 1,000 followers that WILL NOT ENGAGE, what do you think happens to our engagement rate? That’s right, it plummets like a lead balloon.

Your “likes per follower” stats plummet, your “profile visits per follower” stats plummet. Across the board, the average engagement per user – and all associated breakdowns have no meaning at all. Nada. And this can have some very serious consequences.

What happens when you stop paying and these accounts start to get banned?

They’ll catch up eventually!

Facebook has been clamping down on fake users for a while now – and Twitter is doing the same. Once you stop paying for your likes, you’ll find yourself losing followers every day as they get banned from the platforms. And as you aren’t continuously paying the “like farm”, they will not be replaced. Within a few short months, you’ll be back to where you started.

It’s always alarming for REAL customers, should they visit your social pages, to see people “unliking”. They’ll wonder what is wrong – what has happened to cause this mass exodus of followers?

Maybe you’ll get lucky, and attract enough real followers to stem the losses, but then your page will just be replacing fake followers for real ones – and you’ll see a stagnation – as one fake follower unlikes (gets banned) and one real follower likes, giving you a net gain of zero.

Who do you target with your paid ads?

Who do you target if you can’t see anything?

As we’ve mentioned, your analytics are now completely skewed. Without the artificial boosting of your account, you would have seen quite clearly that your largest user demographic on Instagram is a middle-aged female. But now, you’ve got a random mix of sex, age, preferences, jobs – all fake.

The more information you have on your “ideal customer”, the more you can target them with your paid ads. This process becomes more efficient as time goes on as you can see what works and what doesn’t, tailoring your offerings on a monthly basis as your analytics reports reveal more and more information about your followers.

But now you’ve got no clue who your ideal customer is! You might have 80% male fake followers, so you design your paid advertising around that, or you go with something generic to try and appeal to everyone. Is it going to be as effective as a highly targeted ad campaign based on user preferences? Of course it isn’t. You might have paid £10 to a like farm for 1,000 likes, but now it’s costing you money. Your ads aren’t as effective, you’re overpaying, you’re under-achieving. All because you were impatient at the beginning.

Free Social Media Management Quote

We run a large number of Social Media accounts and would love to show you what we can do for you!

What should you do instead?

What path do you take?

This one is pretty straightforward.

Post useful, engaging content that people want to see.

(Why not check out our “What Makes Good Social Media Content” blog post for some ideas?)

Highlight your products and services, sprinkle in a motivational quote, a funny post and a bit of wider industry news and you’ve got the makings of a good account right there! Actively engage with people, answer their questions and respond to their comments and you’ll get your like numbers up in no time.

It will take longer to build your following up than if you went the paid-for route, but it will be real. And the people that do follow you will have an interest, one way or another, in your product or service. These are the people that might buy from you. We say “might”, because you still have to convert them into sales, but that’s for another article. Your social media platforms have done their job if they are directing people to your product or service offerings.

Conclusion

New businesses are just that, NEW. No-one expects you to have a huge following. Customers would rather see a nice growing account based on the fundamentals of good content, active engagement with fans and followers and quick replies to any questions – both public and via direct message. There is NO NEED to buy your way to the top, because let’s face it, you’re not at the top anyway! Your fundamentals are flawed, your analytics are shot, and your business foundations are shaky.

Connect, Engage, Generate.

Building and growing a Facebook page or Twitter account takes patience, hard work and a reliance on these fundamentals. You’ll quickly find that these followers are far more engaged with – and interested in – your products and your brand.

Good luck – and as always, don’t hesitate to give us a shout if you need any assistance.

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