Why You Shouldn't Buy New Followers For Your Business

Buying likes and follows is an easy way to increase your social media numbers, but can ultimately hurt your business.
July 30, 2012

Having a lot of fans and followers via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms looks good for business, and many companies are desperate to appear this way to the public. Did you know there's an easy way to gain these followers? You can purchase them.

If you type "Buy Likes and followers" into search engines, you'll get dozens of companies that appeal to new businesses looking to grow their online presence. In addition to buying likes and followers, some companies, such as LikesAndFollowers.com, even offer YouTube views and Web traffic.

However, according to a list detailing the top 25 websites to buy fans, only one on the list was said to deliver real people. Before any purchases are made, business owners should seriously consider the drawbacks of purchasing fans.

1. Purchased fans don't increase business. Buying fans spikes your numbers, but it does nothing for engagement. What you are essentially paying for is to look good to other people who see your profile. These fans will like or follow you, but the spike in fan count will not be balanced with a spike in mentions, page views or interactions.

Consider social media profiles to be the equivalent of a business' paperwork. You wouldn't inflate the amount of money you made that month or the business' customer conversion rate. You could lie about the amount of money you made that month, but without that money you can't do anything to benefit the business. Similarly, you can lie about the amount of followers you've rightfully gained, but you wouldn't be able to back up those followers with tangible business. Fake followers don't lead to real money.

2. Reviews are more important than followers. Always read the reviews on any company you plan to do business with. On LikesAndFollowers.com, you can buy 5,000 targeted fans for $349. The site claims that these are not fake people, and they have real profiles.

However, a buying customer had a different take: "Likes And Followers delivers likes, but they're not from real people, as they claim," she said. "I wouldn't be so mad about this if they didn't claim they got you real people, but all of their marketing suggests a great result and their prices are much more than some other companies that get you fake likes. We don't even ship out of state and they got me people from outside of the country."

3. Think about where the fans are coming from. With most companies offering as much as 10,000 targeted fans, you might wonder where they all come from. While all companies will claim they don't spam to deliver likes and followers, the large number is certainly questionable.

Here's one website's vague explanation of how it pull its lists together to target fans for a specific business: "We send out invites that are related to the keywords that you provide to us helping you gain the highest quality results for your page. We use our large network of contacts, Twitter lists, and other custom marketing techniques we've developed in-house to deliver followers to your Twitter page."

Considering that the same company offers a delivery of up to 50,000 targeted fans to a business, that list of contacts must be extremely long.

4. You could be scamming your own business. People who purchase likes, followers and Web traffic are essentially scamming themselves and their customers. It's like studying for a test; you put in long hours so that you can get a good grade, and when you pass the test, you gain genuine knowledge about the material. If you cheat, you'll get a good grade, but you'll have no idea what you're doing.

People who buy fans take the easy way out, and as a result, may continually believe that there is an easy way out in other areas of the business. People who work hard for their fans naturally acquire motivation and a sincere work ethic that will drive them and their business further.

5. If the truth is revealed, it doesn't look good. Recently, presidential candidate Mitt Romney was believed to have bought Twitter followers due to two random large spikes in follower count. One man was startled to discover that his picture was being used for five different Twitter accounts, all created recently and all following Mitt Romney. None of them changed his profile picture when requested.

Politician Newt Gingrich had more than 1 million followers. After an investigation on the highly questionable number, which he proudly touted, it was discovered that 92 percent were fake.

Not only does this give an unhealthy example of what type of people will be following you if you buy them, but it also reflects poorly on your character. Overly high follower counts and likes naturally seem fishy to people, unless you are a celebrity. People who are interested will skim through your fans and be able to tell the real from the fake.

What ways have you tried to increase your social media presence?

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