4 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Followers


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Looking to buy Twitter Followers? Or maybe followers onFacebook, Instagram or another social network?
Let me ask you…
What’s more important, 10,000 fans or followers, or 100 who will actually engage with you?

It seems this question isn’t asked too often by a number of people running social media channels who opt to buy their followers in order to boost their numbers.

Let’s be honest for minute, who hasn’t wanted to boost the number of followers or fans they have? Silicon Valley marketing executive, Guy Kawasaki, famously said

Guy Kawasaki - Social Media Quote

I’d love to disagree with him, but I honestly believe he’s right. Who doesn’t want to have more followers?

I remember taking the decision to create a new Twitter account solely for my business, and having to start from scratch. It was easy to try and compare the number of followers I had with others in my field and get depressed.

Numbers Aren’t Everything.

But… not all metrics are the same.

In the social media/marketing/IT world we are very fond of data. I’ve said numbers aren’t everything, but more true to the point is that some numbers are important and some numbers are not. While I do agree having a large number of followers looks good (and I’d be lying if I wasn’t proud by the fact that I’ve grown my following to over 50,000 on Twitter), there are other metrics that I feel are more useful and important. How about…

  • How many people engage with you on a regular basis
  • How many Twitter lists people have added you to
  • Shock horror- how many leads and sales social media is driving!
  • How much traffic to your website your social efforts are driving

Let’s stop looking at the number of fans and followers and look at the things that matter!

However, you’ve stumbled across this article, so you are curious aren’t you?

How to Buy your Followers

There are plenty of services out there which claim to boost your numbers. Many say they can boost your numbers quickly. Some services offer to do this for free and some require payment.  There are a number of different methods that they can employ.

  1. Aggressive Following Technique. (Twitter Only) By following a large number of people each day, waiting for them to follow you, then unfollow those who don’t follow you back it is possible to artificially increase your followers very quickly. This goes against Twitter’s terms and conditions and so is definitely to be avoided. There is nothing wrong with following or unfollowing a large number of people every now and again, but if Twitter think you are aggressively trying to increase your followers by follower/unfollower churn methods, you are likely to get your account suspended. Note- a service will need you to give permission for it to access your Twitter account in order to follow Twitter accounts
  2. Zombie Account Following. (Facebook & Twitter) By paying a 3rd party you can get 100s, 1000s of even 10,000s of followers or likes. Generally each supplier has a database of twitter or Facebook “zombie” accounts that they can use to follow or like you. These are usually completely inactive accounts, sometimes with random names with jumbled up letters and numbers.

Why is Buying Followers so Bad?

#1  Low Engagement / Low Edgerank Score.

When you buy followers or fans, you aren’t getting people who are interested or willing to engage with you. You are merely buying numbers. After paying for followers/fans or engaging in aggressive follower churn, you are likely to get a large number of fake accounts amongst your number. Blogger, Zach Bussey, decided to do an experiment and create a new Twitter account and buy some followers. Over night the number of followers of his new Twitter account increased to a whopping 26,000! It got interesting when he analysed the results and looked at the Twitter accounts that these fake accounts followed. Doing this enabled him to have a good guess on other people who had paid for followers!

Why you should NOT buy Followers. Reason #1 Low Engagement & Edgerank ScoreClick To Tweet

#2 You end up spamming your followers.

This isn’t always the case, but some even more evil Twitter Follower services ask to access your Twitter account to send out multiple messages advertising their way of increasing people’s followers. This is just going to annoy your followers and give you a bad name, which brings me on to…

Why you should NOT buy Followers. Reason #2: You end up spamming your followersClick To Tweet

#3 Loss of Integrity and Reputation.

In this post-modern (or post-post-modern!) world we live in, morality is perhaps more difficult to define since everyone has a different view of what morality is. However, it is fair to say that people see buying followers as a rather immoral thing to do. People view it as you trying to appear more popular than you are and doing it by dodgy means. People may not know that you’ve bought followers, but going from 30 followers or likes to 30,000 in the space of a couple of days is bound to get people suspicious, and then your integrity and reputation could well be in tatters.

Why you should NOT buy Followers. Reason #3: Loss of Reputation & IntegrityClick To Tweet

#4 You’ll get found out!

In fact a lot of people are currently getting found out. It is fairly easy to find out the names of people who are being followed by fake accounts as I mentioned in the first point. However, a new tool on the block is making it even easier. The Fake Followers Check check from Status people analyses your followers to see how many are fake. The interesting thing is you can do the analysis on other accounts too.
Fake Follower Checker

 

Why you should NOT buy Followers. Reason #4: You will get found out!Click To Tweet

There are some Victims…

It is an important point that not everyone who has a large number of fake followers has paid for them. Ryan Tracey commented on a post I wrote last year called “Do you know the Twitter Limits” to say that he was the victim of 24,000 fake accounts following him. To read more on the subject you can read his blog post about him “being bot-bombed“. Unfortunately there isn’t a huge amount you can do about this apart from blocking or reporting each account individually or using a 3rd party tool such as TwitBlock. TwitBlock analyses your account for spam, zombie or bot accounts and lets you block or report them. Unfortunately it doesn’t let you do this in bulk, but this is rather unsurprising since I am pretty sure it goes against Twitter’s terms and conditions. There are tools that allow you to bulk unfollow, such as Manage Flitter*, but none that I know of that allow you to bulk block. If you know of any, please let me know in the comments.

How about Facebook?

Although I have mentioned Facebook, I have mainly being referring to Twitter throughout this post. The issue of fake followers is still an issue on Facebook, it is just a little more difficult to analyse. To be fair, Facebook came clean recently and claimed that over 83 million Facebook accounts are fake which confirmed what a lot of people were already thinking. At the end of August on the Facebook Security blog, Facebook announced they were going to remove fake likes from pages.

Measure Engagement Not Follower Count

So what is the moral of this story? Well apart from it not being moral to buy your followers and having the possibility of having your account suspended or deleted, the number of followers you have really isn’t that important. Let’s make an effort not to play the numbers game and be impressed with the number of followers or likes some business has. Work on building a community of people who are interested in you or your product/service. You will most certainly reap the benefits if you do. There are lots of ways to help you do this, including tools such as Commun.it*.


How to Grow your Followers the Right Way

I’ve explained why buying followers is bad (unless you are paying for Facebook or Twitter advertising to boost your followers), so how can you grow your followers the right way?

By providing value to people, that’s how! And… by finding relevant people to follow or are likely to follow you back and engage with you.

There are a number of tools that are going to help us in this quest.

manage flitterManageFlitter* (Free or from $12/mth)

ManageFlitter allows you to manage your Twitter followers and community in a very powerful way. They have a free version, but if you are going to get the most out of this tool, you’ll have to pay. It’s very reasonably priced (from $12 per month) and it’s going to help you grow your Twitter followers very effectively. I use their power mode to find relevant people to follow- ones that are likely to engage with me and hopefully follow me back. Remember, as well as growing your followers, wouldn’t it also be good to build strong relationships with relevant people, or get more leads?

With the power mode, I can follow the Twitter accounts that an influential and relevant person in my niche follows. I can then filter this list to only include accounts…

  • that I’m not following
  • who don’t currently follow me
  • who are active (i.e. they’ve Tweeted at least once in the past 30 days)
  • who have bothered to create a profile picture on their Twitter profile
  • who don’t have a protected (i.e. private) account
  • who are not in my “never unfollow” or “never follow” lists
  • who I’ve never followed before
  • who are unlikely to be spam accounts
  • who have over a certain number of followers themselves
  • and more!

You can then go through and quickly follow Twitter accounts that look promising. In many cases they’ll follow you back.

Every so often, I’d advise to do another search using ManageFlitter to see who hasn’t followed you back in the past 30 days. Don’t just unfollow them all though! Go through and add accounts that really add value to your “never unfollow” account so you never unfollow them, but do unfollow accounts who have never bothered to engage with you or follow you back- if it makes sense to do so.

For more information, visit ManageFlitter.


agora pulseAgora Pulse* (from $29/mth, free trial available)

Agora Pulse is a powerful social media management tool that helps with posting and scheduling your content, reporting and segmenting your audience to show you the most important people- the ones who support and engage with you the most. Agora Pulse integrates with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The reason I am recommending it here is because it will help you be much more productive and effective with your social engagements. Agora Pulse is kind of like a social inbox. You can quickly and easily go through all your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram mentions and comments and get down to inbox zero. If you want to grow your audience, then engagement is key. Don’t be a social media guru and be a one-way communication machine!

As well as helping with engagement, Agora Pulse can show you the top people in your community-

  • Engaged (people who have mentioned and commented in the past 30 days)
  • Ambassador (people who have retweeted or linked to your website in the past 30 days)
  • Influencer (someone who is retweeted more than 20 times in the past 30 days)

Building relationships with these people will expand your reach and help to grow your followers.

For more information, visit Agora Pulse.


More Tools to Help with Growing your Community.

For more tools and tips on how to grow your followers, come back soon. I’m adding new tools frequently. In particular I’d recommend:

  • Commun.it* – A social relationship manager, Commun.it shows you who are you supports and influencers and suggests accounts you should follow. Integrates with Twitter and Facebook.
  • Feedly – A news feed reader that integrates with a plethora of social networks. Great for discovering high quality content that you can share with your followers.
  • Buffer – A posting and scheduling tools that integrates with a huge number of social networks.
  • IFTTT – Connects multiple tools and services together.

What the * means above…

If a link has an asterisk by it, it means it is an affiliate link and generates a little income for the site. If you end up signing up for the service and paying it may result in a small proportion going towards the upkeep of this site. You shouldn’t notice any difference in the sign up process.

The editorial line is NEVER impacted by these links. I will only ever recommend a product or service if I think it is worth recommending! If a product or service does not have an affiliate scheme, then we will still include it in the same way.

In the interests of transparency, here are the non-affiliate links which will not help iag.me:


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About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a speaker, coach, social media consultant, web developer & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad and geek and is rather partial to tea, coffee & Indian cooking. Find out more



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116 Comments on "4 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Followers"

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varoon gurjar
Guest
21 days 20 hours ago

great advice

Darth Vader
Guest
Darth Vader
24 days 3 hours ago

There is actually some service that provides folowers that will comment and like your stuff. They’re authomatic, but they look very real (they comment things like “nice” or “love it!” so they never say the wrong thing, haha) . I don’t remember its name, look it up on Google. I hope this helps someone. But make sure it’s legal and everything 😉
Sorry for my English,
Darth Vader

Sarah J
Guest
Sarah J
28 days 11 hours ago

Hmmmm interesting article Ian… I actually recently bought some followers from here. I’m still undecided whether they’re worth the investment, I’m just hoping they won’t do me any harm now… Lol but I guess we’ll see.

Hanuman
Guest
2 months 10 days ago

Interesting post. I like the way in which you are writing. My best way to increase followers is to create killer profile, bio, asking questions and mentioning other followers 🙂

Andie
Guest
Andie
2 months 10 days ago

Hello Ian, I really like your article, sorry if my English is not perfect, I hope that you can understand. I have a question, I’m working in my followers on Instagram, if I follow and unfollow people, they are going to block my account? For me that is an organic way but I didn’t know that Twitter for example can give you a penalty for this. Thank you

Mechell
Guest
Mechell
2 months 16 days ago

Great article. What app do you recommend to schedule postings for Instagram?

Melissa
Guest
Melissa
2 months 26 days ago

To be honest I am thinking of buying followers I have organically 1350 followers but it seems that I stuck there, I haven’t been getting more followers in months so as a blogger it doesn’t look good. However I would not buy 20.000 as is not realistic but I would consider buying 500-800 as it seems more realistic.

Manolis
Member
2 months 28 days ago

Hi Ian, cheers for this great article. You gave so many great reasons why one should avoid buying followers but also nice tools to grow their fans and their engagement. Very valuable stuff, I have bookmarked this post so that I share it with clients who ask me how to buy followers…

Rijina Minj
Guest
3 months 5 days ago

I really wonder is it not known to twitter that this kind of purchase is going on. Is it not bad for twitter..

redanline
Guest
3 months 12 days ago

I agree with the article fully, though many things are good.

Rajeev
Guest
Rajeev
3 months 14 days ago

I don’t agree with the article fully, though many things are good.
I use to sell Twitter followers in the past and I have seen people achieving big things from the paid followers. I won’t say they are active followers but when you make a new account on Twitter, that initial boost makes you grow organically at later stage.
You know it’s hard for a newbie to get attention but if you are already loaded with 10k followers, you may get the attention. Even the great Tweeters don’t get huge following until they are already have huge following.
What do you think about these?

Jay
Guest
Jay
3 months 24 days ago

Why do Gurus have bad editing and sites that are antiquated? It’s hard to trust the advice from these “experts” of web development whose sites are terribly designed and have misspoken or unedited copy. Sites that have “stand out from the crowd” in the header but aren’t mobile or readable.

trackback

[…] may be a convenient way of instantly  developing the appearance of online popularity, but its benefits are largely superficial. Purchased fake followers are inactive accounts that are often bots. They will not engage with the […]

samuelorris
Guest
6 months 25 days ago

Basically, some of the systems use Twitter or Instagram bots to automate engagement and follows. They could use banks of accounts they control. Honestly that is a Great tips, I’ll definitely keep them in mind for the growth of my Twitter account. At the moment we’re using to boost our followers, it’s great, really gives us an organic audience.
I also would like to congratulate for your great content and thanks a lot for sharing this content with us.

SP
Guest
SP
6 months 29 days ago

The Kardashians have been buying Twitter Followers for years now

Jake
Guest
Jake
8 months 3 days ago

You mentioned you use manageflitter.com for twitter…What about instagram? Does it work with instagram too?

wayne
Guest
wayne
8 months 19 days ago

Great article but nowadays Finding fake followers is becoming even harder as more sophisticated bots are out there doing everything from auto following periodic retweets and so on I am its like an AI system ..I experimented with this site amazondealslocator – got mixed results some were actually real people it was so difficult to differentiate .. some accounts kept a healthy twitter ratio of follow and followed seems to be too perfect for me to tell I run the fake test and it returned 70% fake of all my bought followers were fake interesting
..it seems the trade has evolved rapidly…..I contacted the site owner to make me a Bot honestly its costed quite bit like $50 and guess what It does exactly everything automatically it follows targeted niches checks Twitter API limits unfollows those not following i set it up for a month been running smoothly hiding from twitter prying eyes ….

beth baker
Guest
8 months 27 days ago

What about the site growmoresocial? are these fake followers?

Esther Mayhew
Guest
Esther Mayhew
9 months 12 days ago

Hi Ian,

Great tips, I’ll definitely keep them in mind for the growth of my Twitter account. At the moment we’re using http://www.tweetfavy.com/ to boost our followers, it’s great, really gives us an organic audience. Check it out!

thao
Guest
thao
9 months 20 days ago

Ian Anderson Gray, sometimes i don’t know the reason why many people i don’t follow them, but their tweets appear on my twitter. It made me angry so much!

thao
Guest
thao
9 months 20 days ago

Can you give me the best ways to increase the followers on Twitter?

trackback

[…] your content and engage with you on a regular basis than large numbers who are strangers to you. Anyone can have large numbers of followers (buying them, for example), but that doesn’t mean that the social media strategy is successful. A […]

DALawson
Guest
DALawson
10 months 6 days ago

Useful discussion. Thanks.

Gerard
Guest
10 months 20 days ago

“Nature red in tooth and claw” Only other way if you’ve too few following is to ruthlessly “cull” “un-helpful” following acc.s until twitter-sphere gets-the-message and better links create healthier network..Then you may increase the no: you follow (I was unaware of limit until I reached it), ..

laurie
Guest
laurie
10 months 25 days ago

I can name a lot of cheater bloggers that goes up 2k to 4k daily and its sickening that they give people thinking they are famous and can demand for more money if hired.The cheaters are mainly bloggers on instagram, wish they can’t be judged on their instagram followers instead, bunch of liars !!

Magda
Guest
Magda
10 months 26 days ago

I have close to 400 friends in facebook enter daily and gives tons of likes and received less than 20 it doesn’t kill me , but it does badders me a little. Still, with those being mostly people from my groups and friends I do socialize a lot even if I don’t get many likes.

John
Guest
John
10 months 27 days ago

Great article, the other option is to use a service like https://socialrunner.net They can gain you real instagram followers and instagram likes!

Callum Robson
Guest
Callum Robson
11 months 18 days ago

Gotta say I disagree. I actually started off my account by buying followers.. And now I’m at over 100,000, a real solid audience which favourites/retweets all my tweets. Very active.
All in all though, nothing will get you exposure like regular tweeting and a good audience!

Katherina
Guest
Katherina
11 months 27 days ago

Interesting article, but i think there is a place for this kind of marketing strategy and i would love to see a company be able to create a platform where people can purchase “real Instagram followers”.

Nelson
Guest
Nelson
1 year 15 days ago

I work for a company that once paid for 50,000 Twitter Followers from InstagramFollowers.co with essentially no negative repercussions. The followers we got were all real people (I don’t know where this idea of “smoke and mirros, since all these media mainly rely on influencing those with large followings), they were all targeted toward our niche, and they were a great stepping stone for us to achieve the 525,000+ followers we now have 8 months later. Just do your research, and don’t use the followers for the sole purpose of show-off you should be fine.

Lionel Campbell
Guest
1 year 23 days ago

I would like to know about successes and failures of buying twitter followers.

Twitter
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

Actually I can see one real benefit from fake twitter followers, but it’s only beneficial if you want to follow thousands of people with your account.
The need for Twitter followers appears when you get limited on following, it happens when you reach 2000 following amount and you have less followers than following, buying twitter followers easily fix this problem.
Followers are usually not active, they are just to increase followers count, so that’s probably the only reason to buy them in my opinion.

trackback

[…] If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. From the first glance a profile that has thousands or even millions of followers may look impressive, however, when you take a closer look and there is no engagement e.g. likes, comments, shares this means one thing, SPAM. Don’t fall for people or businesses that promise they can get you over 10,000 likes for £50 – they won’t be any good. For more information about this have a read of IAG Me blog, ‘4 Reasons why you should not Buy Followers’. […]

Maxy
Guest
1 year 1 month ago

I remember buying some Twitter followers from Wizish.com about a year ago. I kind of wish I never did that because I have like 20k followers but never get any favorites or retweets lol. Thanks for the write up. I enjoyed the read 🙂

Ray Barnhart
Guest
Ray Barnhart
1 year 2 months ago

You forgot to mention another potential issue for “needing” more followers. Twitter restricts you from following any more contacts if your number of followers is “too low”. !!

KABBYIK MITRA
Guest
1 year 2 months ago

This is an excellent article i got suddenly searching randomly why buying twitter or facebook followers is good or bad. You have given a real clue about it. I really appreciated your value, thoughts and knowledge. Thanks looking forward for many more good tips. yoga2all.

Najib Naikyar
Guest
Najib Naikyar
1 year 2 months ago

My tweet got favourited by someone seeling followers 1000 for $12. Since I only have 1 follower, I was about to use the service and then luckily I read this article. Thank you

Ndeed DoPe
Guest
Ndeed DoPe
1 year 2 months ago

I Promise You I Was On My Way To Find A Link To Buy Followers Luckily This Happened To Be The First Link That I’ve Seen. I Not Buying Any Followers No Time Soon. (Nuff Said)

GoodSamaritan
Guest
GoodSamaritan
1 year 3 months ago

First of all – it’s gross and derived of any sense. If the only thing that you are interested in is numbers in the profile – then probably you may consider buying followers, but if i’m following you and i find out – i’ll unfollow. The only domain in which i use bots is unfollowing, cause it’s a boring ask that i’ve always wanted to automate . Surprisingly this topic is actively discussed in the comment, so here’s my share. I tried unfollowgram, unfollowers, instafollow but they were not good enough, too slow to pay for. My choice is fast-unfollow.com, with capability of 5000 unfollowings per day it’s the leader.

trackback

[…] accounts on twitter, which are used for spam purposes and to commit Twitter crimes. Some people buy their Twitter followers from third parties. A lot of these accounts will have been set up purely for the purpose of a fake […]

47lamas
Guest
47lamas
1 year 3 months ago

ive had this happen to me, andorid as a lot of apps that are made by random people and thrown on there, ive had a problems with other apps where i would download them and they wouldnt show up anywhere and i would have background activity on my tablet. same with the followers app, i found my account liking photos i havent seen, following people i havent followed, app that i havent downloaded being downloaded. i had to wipe my tablet a few times to really get rid of the trouble. i havent had anything go on for a long time but recently had some troubles working my tablet properly, and fixed the problem. its nice to see someone has pin pointed that these followers apps and other apps made, can potentially be dangerous and tap into your personal information. im planning on getting a whole new tablet

Sheena L. Mathieson
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Great article!, buying followers can only give you a small share of happiness 🙂

Michael Konowitz
Guest
Michael Konowitz
1 year 4 months ago

The fake followers thing didn’t work for me. The two it identified on my boss (@BrianFearless)’ account are actual clients who just don’t tweet often.

NiltonChums
Guest
NiltonChums
1 year 4 months ago
Is buying fake twitter followers wrong? It’s an interesting moral/philosophical question. The way I see it, don’t many of us just follow celebs because they’re celebs-ie we want to be in the know. Not necessarily because we care about knowing their tweets for their inherent value, but for the social value (given that we’re evolutionarily hard-tuned as humans to care about what our ‘leaders’ are up to) or because our friends and colleagues suggest we should. And then if we consider that more than a handful of celebs aren’t necessarily deserving, may have cheated their way to success, or were media creations (ex: Kim Kardashian, Lance Armstrong, the overuse of photoshop and auto-tune), they’re kind of artificially gaining our following. And then there are those people who get twitter followers from their 15 minutes of fame. A media frenzy surrounds person XYZ and we all follow him/her. Plus, how many times do we really care about all the tweets of those we follow? I skip past a good 25% of the tweets on my Twitter timeline. But unless they explicitly do something vile or wretched, I won’t unfollow them. Also, maybe I’m just not in the mood to read about… Read more »
Dangerous Lee
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Is it bad to use sites like Tweepi and Unfolllowers?

Luuk de Vries
Guest
Luuk de Vries
1 year 5 months ago

I completely agree with you, however it takes a lot of time to follow and unfollow yourself. I found a tool from a guy that looks for potential clients based on your competitors. you can find it here: http://hjtoolbox.com/tools/automatic-twitter-follower/ Do you think this is a natural way without losing integrity and reputation?

Higgins Marketing
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

I couldn’t agree more. It didn’t take me long to figure and weed through the “fake ones.” It is disheartening to see this short-cutting when so many are working hard to legitimately gain a valued following. It may not be the fastest road but it is real and I have to think will yield the best outcome! We currently use unfollower.com to help “clean up the garbage” and don’t follow back unless the person looks legit. That has served us well thus far. Thanks again… good article.

Juliana
Guest
Juliana
1 year 6 months ago

I agree with you wholeheartedly. In today’s world of shortcuts and templates, the fundamental value of hardwork and sincerity in what we do is so important. I’m glad you reiterate that.

Serkan
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

I use followerfilter.com for Searching User- Tweet RT and Favorite listing and deletion – Unfollower finding an deletion. Even the site is new, it works well!

Site also allows you to see any twitter user’s (included yours) unfollowers, followers and followings without login.

Of course it’s free and unlimited!

KHOKON
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

I am little frustrated because of my few twitter follower 🙁 , I will do the method that you mention “Following & Unfolloing” 🙂
Thanks

Ashley Maydak
Guest
Ashley Maydak
1 year 8 months ago

LOL, I just used the fake follower check and it listed my husband as a fake account! Obviously that method isn’t fool-proof 😉

Still, great points made in the post.

wpDiscuz