What Are the Social Media Costs of Buying Followers?

Social media marketing costs can be very low, so why not experiment with ways to boost your reach? But buying followers isn't always the best approach.
January 17, 2018

Regardless of your industry or size, building a strong social media presence for your business is essential. Social media activity can generate the perception that your brand is worthy of attention. It can also help improve customer loyalty and patronage. But are social media marketing costs worth it?

To examine this question, let's consider the strategy of buying followers. The more haphazard your approach here, the less likely it is to pay off. Social media marketing costs are often best spent by implementing a highly targeted follower strategy.

Know What You're Really Buying...

The simplest and least expensive method to buying followers is to use a basic service that automatically adds a certain number of followers or likes to your social media account. While you may only pay a few dollars for 100 additions, you might be disappointed to learn that these new friends are bots and inactive accounts.

Many business owners try this approach hoping that an initial surge and/or having a high volume of followers will encourage interest from customers and other stakeholders. The hope is that those large likes or followers will lead to business expansion and growth.

When it comes to social media marketing costs and strategies, you always want to focus on quality over quantity.

—Corey Eulas, founder, Factorial Digital

Unfortunately, when it comes to social media marketing costs, you often get what you pay for. The added bot accounts often won't like or comment on your posts the way humans would. So while you are increasing your follower count, your engagement will likely stagnate. And, if your stakeholders decide to take a closer look at your account, a high number of followers combined with low engagement may negatively impact your reputation more than a low number of followers.

A better technique involves purchasing high-quality, targeted followers or likes, which typically cost from $.50 to $5 per follower, according to Chad Keller, a partner at Pittsburgh-based agency Eyeflow Internet Marketing.

“The followers that result are great for social proof and credibility," Keller says, "and also offer the potential of each person turning into a client or customer in the future."

...and That Some Strategies Work Better Than Others

Since you're budgeting out social media marketing costs, are there more sophisticated and reliable strategies to jump-start your follower base?

“Often, the best results involve a campaign that engages highly qualified audience segments closely related to your vertical," said Corey Eulas, founder of the online marketing agency Factorial Digital. "When it comes to social media marketing costs and strategies, you always want to focus on quality over quantity."

You might also consider paying to sponsor or boost posts on a target social network like Facebook or LinkedIn. You can use a prospect list you create from website traffic or e-newsletter signups or a social network group you've already established.

Your specific path will depend on your unique business, brand and social media objectives.

“Some industries benefit from social media engagement more than others, so what you should be willing to pay is influenced by whether you are trying to build brand awareness, drive sales or just maintain an active presence on the channel," says Thomas Smale, founder of website brokerage firm FE International. “From there, it's a question of economics. A company with a $10,000 profit margin on a product can afford to pay more than a company with a $10 profit margin product."

Of course, just because you have the money doesn't mean you should spend it indiscriminately. Setting metrics that you can track through analytics is one way to assess whether your campaign is delivering as intended.

How are your social media marketing costs allocated in 2018? Is purchasing followers a part of your strategy?

Read more articles on social media strategy.

Photo: Getty Images

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