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4 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Followers

Looking to buy Twitter Followers? Or maybe followers on Facebook, 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. Overnight 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.

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 (no longer working). 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 used to be tools that allowed you to bulk unfollow, such as Manage Flitter, but they've all gone due to Twitter's rule changes. And in any case, none 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*.

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.

ManageFlitter was a great tool that helped here, but unfortunately, it died a horrible death in the hands of Twitter's new rules.

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:

  • 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


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About Ian

Ian Anderson GrayIan is the founder of the Confident Live® Marketing Academy and helps entrepreneurs to level up their impact, authority and profits by using live video confidently. Seriously Social is a blog focussed on live video and social media tools. He’s an international speaker, trainer, teacher and consultant.

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