by Diana Adams | Featured Contributor
If you’ve been working hard to establish yourself as a leader on Twitter, and if your follower count is only inching up slowly, you might be considering some more time-effective alternatives. One of those alternatives might be to buy Twitter followers.
I co-host a Twitter chat every Tuesday night called #InfluencerChat with Ann Tran and Rebekah Radice. Recently we discussed the topic of purchasing social media followers, and the effects of that decision.
I believe that buying Twitter followers is a bad idea. I also believe that sometimes people/brands make the decision to buy followers and then regret it later. If you are thinking about purchasing followers, I humbly suggest you consider these 10 reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
1. Buying Twitter followers is risky
There are risks associated with purchasing followers. You risk having your Twitter account suspended. You risk having your Twitter account hacked (if you grant access to the site from which you’re purchasing the followers). You risk losing your money if the site doesn’t deliver the followers. You risk spamming your followers if that site is allowed to send tweets and DMs on your behalf. I could go on and on. It’s a dark side of the social media world that you don’t want to get mixed up in.
2. You aren’t really buying followers
According to WordStream, “You’re not really buying Twitter followers so much as mindless spam bots.” A following filled with bots leads to more problems. For example, you’ll have trouble accurately calculating ROI and a negatively impacted influence score (as a result of no engagement from all those followers).
3. Once trust is gone, it’s gone (especially online)
As we explained in a recent #InfluencerChat post titled The Impact of Social Media Fraud and Fakers on the Industry, your personal and professional brands are built on trust. All you have is your reputation. Once trust is gone, there’s no going back.
4. There are no sustainable social media shortcuts
Yes, it takes work. Yes, it would be easier to buy your followers. However, it’s usually only a matter of time until those trying to “fake it till they make it” on Twitter are exposed. When your engagement level doesn’t match your followers, it becomes obvious.
5. Buying followers robs you of a meaningful Twitter experience
The true value of social media success can be measured in the relationships we’ve built along the journey.
Wouldn’t you rather have a meaningful, rewarding Twitter experience instead of one where you feel like you’re being deceptive? I know what it’s like to have a meaningful Twitter experience, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.
6. It’s easy for peeps to find out how many fake followers you have
You might think, “Nobody will ever know.” Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. These days, there are several apps that will instantly tell you how many fake followers any Twitter account has.
7. It’s a head game you play with yourself
I read an interesting article today written by Seth Stevenson, a guy who bought 27,000 Twitter followers a few years ago.
Seth wrote, “They sit there silently, serving as a constant reminder that I’ve taken a lazy shortcut…I’ve sometimes felt a small ego jolt at the thought of people noticing that impressive number next to my name, which is creepy and absurd.”
You can read Seth’s article here on Slate. And, it’s worth noting, he no longer has all those fake followers.
8. Your Twitter analytics will be messed up
I already mentioned the complications fake followers bring to calculating social media ROI. In addition to that, your general analytics will be skewed.
For example, you won’t be able to pull any accurate demographic information. In addition to messing yourself up in your own demographic, you won’t be able to derive any valuable info regarding demographics since fake followers are bots with no demographic relevance.
9. You’ll send an inaccurate message about yourself to the world
According to this article on SocialTimes, when you buy Twitter followers, “You’re telling the world that you think you’re smarter than everyone else (because you think nobody will ever find out). You’re deceptive and make no apology for it. You have low self-esteem (which having a high follower count won’t fix). And, you’re a fraud.”
I wouldn’t go as far to be that harsh about it. I think some people/brands buy Twitter followers without realizing the consequences of what they’re doing.
10. You will lose the respect of real social media influencers when they find out
Growing a Twitter following organically is harder now than when I started tweeting in March of 2009. These days, in order to grow a large following, you have to constantly curate/create content that your audience craves. You have to be engaging and reply to your tweets. You have to position yourself as a leader in your industry.
When someone goes through all that work to build an organic following, it’s disheartening to watch someone else amass a huge following in just a few days. Comparing these two types of Twitter accounts is not comparing apples to apples, but still, it’s hard to regain respect after that.
My Twitter relationships are priceless to me, and I couldn’t imagine purposely polluting my experience with bots. What do you think? Maybe you disagree. Maybe you think there is an argument for purchasing Twitter followers. I’d love to hear your opinion in the comment section below.
Diana Adams is the founder and CEO of Adams Consulting Group, Inc. in Atlanta. Established in 2001, her company is now an esteemed member of the Apple Consultants Network and is rated one of the top independent Apple consulting firms in the southeast.
She’s written 4,000+ blog posts about technology, social media and geeky innovations. She loves new technology, Java Chips with extra drizzle, and any form of creativity. She’s also one of the biggest Star Wars fans in the world and is a frequent user of the force.
Diana graduated from USC, and she spends most of her time on the east coast. She is a social media addict, and you can find her on Twitter (@adamsconsulting), Instagram, G+ or Facebook almost anytime of the day or night. Send her a tweet and say hello!