Guest Post by Steve Stretton
In today’s competitive online marketplace, companies will do just about anything to increase their online presence. Nowhere is this practice more prevalent than in the world of social media. Just as in any other business, companies are now popping up that provide clients with an almost instant boost in their numbers that is said to skyrocket their public perception and social media presence. But, is this really the case? Do these fake twitter followers actually offer buyers something in return or are they just a facade with little return on investment?
How Does it Work?
Companies offer different options based on what a client is looking for. Once the client selects a package, which is typically a predetermined number of followers, the company goes to work getting their accounts to follow the client’s page. Often, these follows occur within a predetermined time frame that is outlined when the package is purchased and can range anywhere from 12 hours all the way up to almost three weeks.
Many companies offer a variety of pricing levels based on the level of followers or retweets that are offered. One company, Followersboost.com offers levels of followers ranging anywhere from 100 followers to 100,000. With staggering numbers like that delivered in a specific time frame based on the options selected, companies can see a real boost in their numbers. For basic plans with “100 active followers” companies pay a mere $9.00. For more expensive plans like 10,000 followers for $99 and 100,000 for $399, you can certainly see how this is becoming a lucrative business.
Playing the Numbers Game
To many, social media is a strict numbers game. Many companies are strictly concerned with the number of followers on an account or the number of interactions (likes or retweets) that a post had. With this focus on numbers, it is no wonder that companies like Followersboost have entered into the market place offering a boost to client’s Twitter followers and retweets. But, why do we care?
Many followers believe that the number of followers a company, individual, or brand has, the more legitimate they seem. These numbers should represent a loyal customer base that opted to like or follow their account to get more information. With this customer base, companies, individuals, and brands now have the chance to market their service or offerings directly to their customer base at no charge. Social media has enabled an entirely new realm of advertising at low investment with a very high return.
Buying Followers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
When it comes to increasing your web presence, few things are easy as buying followers to make an account look more legitimate. By laying out a small investment to these services, twitter accounts can see an immediate jump in the numbers. As customers see these numbers swelling, they often want to investigate what spurred on the growth so they look into the profile, this is known as the “bandwagon effect.” With this comes an impression of steady growth and success: a great thing for any business. In addition to swelling a company’s numbers, it also puts them on a level playing field with other social media accounts that have utilized similar services.
In looking at using these services, some fairly negative impressions come to mind to most customers. Any look into a companies list of followers will likely give away that they used a service like this as most of the profiles appear fake have little content on their pages. In addition to looking bad on the company, little is gained other than just a list of followers. None of the interactions with these accounts are meaningful or represent what most social media accounts try for: quality customer service. Social media platforms like twitter were designed to be a two-way form of communication between all users. Companies that utilize bots may just be sending their message to accounts that do nothing, there is no way to measure the true impact and effectiveness of their message.
With the rise in these companies has also come a rise in dangers associated with it. As many twitter and social media users know, spam bots have the ability to infect user’s computers through an inadvertent click. Some of these bot accounts may be incorporated with the swelling ranks of purchased numbers and could put your customers and you at risk. In addition, some companies have touted exponential growth of your twitter following and end up doing nothing but taking your money and running. While not common, it is still a danger that is prevalent, just like working with any unknown firm on the internet.
Putting it All Together
The concept of purchasing fake twitter followers is a mixed bag when it comes to people’s reactions. Some customers value integrity in their companies and become dismayed when they see shady business practices. Others see the growing numbers of a twitter followers as a sure sign that they can trust a company. Companies see it is a tool to create a solid base to grow off of, while others see it as wasting money on numbers that don’t have any impact on business. What is certain, though, is that these services aren’t going anywhere for a while unless the unlikely event of Twitter cracking down on bot accounts occurs.
What can be said, however, is that social media is a vital platform for businesses in the twenty-first century. Companies that successfully embrace social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have seen remarkable growth through word of mouth referrals. These can come in the form of tweets, retweets, Facebook postings, Instagram mentions, or pins on Pinterest. What all this means is that companies now have the advantage of letting customers do their advertising for them if they can provide
Building Your Following the Natural Way
Having a specific plan for social media growth is a great way to go. By dedicating time and energy to growing a following organically, you can have quality interactions with customers and show the value of customer service. One of the easiest ways is to include your social media information in all of your materials. By adding quick links on your website, your e-mails, even printing your handle on your business card, you can grow your following. In addition to this, posting quality content and having meaningful and responsive interactions with customers can ensure that you are far more likely to expand your customer base than by adding a few bot accounts to your following.
While the business of buying twitter followers isn’t like to leave anytime soon, it is likely the number of companies utilizing them may shrink. It is time to shift away from the numbers game of social media and instead focus on the quality and content of interactions.