Why Buying Twitter Followers is a Terrible Idea

Over the last year or two marketers have been offering businesses the chance to ‘buy Twitter followers and increase your popularity.’ It’s an attractive offer for businesses or people who want to look like they spend quality time on their Twitter strategy, but actually don’t.

twitter followers 300x225 Why Buying Twitter Followers is a Terrible Idea

Courtesy of gordonmurray.com

The ‘instant’ community is making its way around the internet, and it’s instantly ruining Twitter marketing for the people who fall into its trap.

First of all Twitter, like most social media, is supposed to be about making genuine connections – over time. By nurturing and stimulating this community they eventually become buying customers.

When a marketer wants to take a short cut, and buy their community – tragedy strikes. We’ve said it a thousand times – Twitter is not about how many followers you have. It’s about how many you interact with!

Buying a community might make you look popular on the surface – but here’s where it all goes horribly wrong.

The Marketing Trap

When you begin a well thought out Twitter marketing campaign, one of the first things you need to do it find an audience, or people who are going to like your Tweets.

You also need to find people with real interests that aren’t out to sell anything like you are. When you spend $3000.00 on 100 000 Twitter followers, you have ZERO control over who they are or if they were ever interested in your market.

The result is of course, maybe 100 people that are genuinely interested in speaking to you, or buying the products you are selling. The rest become an expensive banner to the world saying “I’m popular.” Unfortunately even this veil is wearing thin, as more and more people realize that most large communities have been bought.

The Reason Twitter Exists

Forget for a second that you’re a business person looking to make money off Twitter. Imagine that the only reason you use Twitter is to meet new people and discuss fun things, while following feeds that you are truly interested in.

According to some very revealing data, these people are in the minority. More Twitter users are businesses just like you, looking to build their brand power and make sales.

Twitter exists for the people who use it for fun. They are the most interactive, and take the time to comment, reply and re-tweet what you’re trying to say.

If you don’t use keyword searches to find the few that honestly enjoy your market – then you might as well carpet your 100 000 bought followers with spammy nonsense like everyone else. See how much money you make with this strategy in play.

A smaller community of people you know is worth more than thousands of random people you don’t know. Don’t be lured into the ‘instant community’ trap. They are not your community, they’re random people. Spend real time building your followers on Twitter for the best results. Buying your followers is a terrible idea – don’t do it!

Have you bought Twitter followers?
What are your experiences with your instant community?
Tell us below!

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20 Responses to “Why Buying Twitter Followers is a Terrible Idea”

  1. add_followers Says:

    I only deal with real human keyword targeted Twitter Followers but you have good advice. I do think it is quality not quantity that makes a good follower. I always click on the people that have chosen to follow me. If their bio is interesting then I click on their website link. @addfollowers_us http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVOBb0mqRAA

  2. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @add_followers, it’s good to see that you’re building your following the right way. Keep it up, and thanks for reading!

  3. Lamar Saglimbeni Says:

    Getting followers pretty much always increases credibility. I feel like in current times that many people are judged by how many followers they have. It’s kind of wrong, but true.

    I actually manage social media for a small business and I found a pretty unique company that “sells” Twitter followers. There are many websites that do this (surprisingly!) but this particular one has targeted followers too: http://www.mysocialanswer.com

    PS- Just don’t tell your boss you bought the followers :)

  4. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Lamar – thanks for the comment, even though you are clearly in the Twitter follower sales biz – you make a relevant point. People do want credibility. But they can get it in a lot of other ways as well. This may take longer, but it’ll guarantee that their Twitter followers actually interact with them in the end.

  5. Thomas Says:

    In reality it depends on your intent and market on twitter. If your a musician or artist the number of followrs is HIGHLY important!(example Articles that hail how many followers certain celebs have) I even took the time to examine a sample of some of the top celebs followers and found many eggs and non active accounts.Which really means their is a difference between followers vs active followers. we may want to say its quality vs quantity but depending on your target market they may see your lack of followers(ex music) as being that your not very interesting as a artist. In that category everyone wants to be the next person to say they discovered so and so first! So it really depends on your intent. In some circumstances “build it up and they will come” can apply well to buying followers.

  6. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Thomas, well said. While buying followers is not usually a good idea, I can see how it would work for ‘follower’ sensitive musicians or artists. Just make sure that once you’ve paid for your followers, you work as hard to earn real ones :) – John.

  7. Socialyy Says:

    Buying those kinds of followers is a good shortcut, although not really for long term, some people buy followers just to show that they have followers, although fake but it can increase credibility.

  8. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Socialyy – definitely not long term, I agree. They don’t interact and they won’t buy anything from you at all. – John

  9. Marketing Monkey Says:

    “Thank you for a great article. I think people buying followers and likes without knowing what to expect is a big problem. Personally, I’ve found that purchasing followers and likes is the best way to avoid your company being seen as a “”failure”" on twitter which is important for larger, well known companies.

    I’ve helped a few sector-leading organisations get set up on twitter and facebook and they all asked “”What will people thing if we only have a handful of followers in 6 months time …”". They all purchased followers and likes from sites like http://www.socialkudos.co.uk to put their minds at ease. These follows and likes will not have interacted with the companies, but that wasn’t the intention.”

  10. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Marketing Monkey – that is a constant concern with brands, and social media followers are often mistakenly viewed as social ‘popularity’ – which isn’t always the case. I’ve seen many small 100-300 follower Twitter accounts that earn consistent revenue, far more than many 10000 follower accounts see. That said, I guess we all worry what others think of our businesses from time to time. As long as you know what you’re getting, I guess it’s alright. – John

  11. TwitterFollow-ers Says:

    Building followers can definitely help companies get going and build there reputation. Its a matter of making sure you get quality followers

  12. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Twitter, quality is best, without it – your page will have no interaction! – John

  13. Craig Says:

    Hey. How do these companies get people to follow you? How do they create the communities they sell?

  14. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Craig – for the authentic companies, they place entry ‘ads’ on certain sites that will add users to these communities. IN order for the user to get into the site, or find a certain page – they have to agree to be part of the network. I’m sure there are other ways as well, like creating fake accounts. – John

  15. jared Says:

    Completely agree, its pointless to buy followers as you want real accounts that are actually interested in your company.

  16. Cat Says:

    When i see musicians/artists visibly acquiring followers overnight by a fixed amount (some go from 18k to 28k overnight when then last few months they’ve gained 250 or so) it just looks bad. What even looks worse, is when they actually buy in small increments (10K) and then start losing followers really quick.

    Stick to real followers. If people are not following, you’re not marketing your brand right.

  17. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Cat – that’s true. And don’t forget, fake followers have no voice and won’t engage you on your pages either.

  18. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Jared – that ‘interest’ is what makes gaining followers so tough. But if you can overcome that obstacle, you can naturally gain 10K followers without buying them! The bonus of course, is that they’ll interact like crazy on your pages. – John

  19. Les Says:

    That’s an interesting point; people’s perception of your brand is influenced by how many followers you have or don’t have. I don’t think customers check to see when a company jumped 10K in followers. Their competitors notice those things.

  20. Social Media Magic Team Says:

    @Les – True competitors notice. For the most part however, buying Twitter followers is an awful idea. Any digging, and its easy to see that your account is pretty much fake. That’s not good for anyone. – John

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