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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What is the difference between Real Followers Vs. Purchased Followers in Social Media?

The real testament of success on social media is the measured engagement of your audience. However, that means there must first be an audience. That is often an uphill battle for companies new to social media. With a seemingly endless array of options available to the public, how do you direct people to find you and then convince them to become a follower?

There are a variety of strategies to direct traffic to your social media pages. Once you get them there, how do you persuade them to stay? One of the ways to validate your content is the number of people who are already following you. So, that means the higher the number, the better.

Besides, what is the point of having a social media platform if no one is paying attention to it? A common way to beef up the number of followers is to buy them. Social media is huge and that means there are plenty of companies out there looking to turn a profit from it. One of those ways is to offer businesses a way to boost their followers using a few different techniques. This is considered buying your audience.  But, is this a recommended practice?

What It Means to Purchase an Audience

Buying followers is not just something small businesses do; brand name companies and celebrities have all been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar on this one.

How does it work? Some of the methods include depending on the reciprocal nature of social media by following or liking a large number of people with the expectation that they will return the favor and follow you in return. Aggressive following is risky though since many sites will suspend or ban users who they can prove are doing it.

Another trick is to sign up with or pay a company who has numerous fake accounts to pose as followers to boost your numbers. Nearly all of these accounts are set up and then abandoned and exist only for the purchase of increasing followers.

Why Purchasing Followers Is Ineffective

This type of faux engagement isn’t new and the search engine power players are well aware of its existence. As companies continue to find new ways of tricking people into visiting their content, companies like Google and Bing edit their algorithms to make them less effective. Keyword and meta-tag stuffing, hidden text, doorway pages, spinning, and link spam are all well-known methods for companies trying to stack the deck in their favor. The search engines are onto it. Facebook has promised to crack down on their excessive number of fake accounts. This approach is not a long-term solution as things change all the time and if the engagement isn’t real it won’t stand the test of time.

Another reason this doesn’t work is because Internet users are savvy. They know how to inspect a company’s social media and determine it’s trustworthiness. A few moments looking at your list of followers will easily point out whether they are real or not. Your company’s morality could be the deciding factor in whether or not your followers respect you. Trust is key in any type of relationship and that includes the one you have with your followers. Your reputation is on the line!

How to Increase Follower Quality

Social media isn’t just a numbers game. The most effective pages are all about engagement. A company knows they are on the right path when its followers are liking, commenting and sharing content.

These days an online presence is essential. However, poor social media sites do very little to actually enhance a person’s business or cause. The only real way to increase the quantity of your followers is to improve the quality of their experience.

Knowing that you need the work on the quality of your followers is one thing, but how do you begin? Give us a call and we can discuss the right ways to engage your audience.

~ Social Media is changing the way people do business.  Don't get left behind ~

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Hollie Clere, of The Social Media Advisor is a "#BeAwesome" Developer, Social Media Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+ , YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
Click here for her Social Media Workshops, Classes and Seminars

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