Boosting your following on social media for just a few bucks can be tempting.
Popularity increases perceived value, so a large audience conveys clout and
credibility. It's also an endorsement of you and your message by other
individuals, businesses and entities using platforms such as Facebook and
But paying for those followers can have the opposite effect. Cheap
"followers" are often dummy accounts, overseas users (many businesses pay
low-wage workers overseas to create fake accounts) and inactive accounts. And
there are plenty of free online tools that can quickly tell you how much of an
account's following is fake.
If you're a celebrity or politician, that can make for embarrassing
headlines. If you're a business or individual trying to market yourself or build
a brand, it can make you look downright untrustworthy.
On the biggest platforms, the money spent on followers will ultimately be
wasted. Twitter and Facebook now routinely delete fake and inactive accounts.
Those 40,000 Facebook "likes" you bought can disappear in a matter of days. And
the sudden drop in numbers will alert any real followers you have that you've
been bulking up artificially.
Fake followers also defeat the purpose of social media marketing: They're not
real people who are going to spread your message and who might eventually do
business with you. Their only value is in making it appear that you're popular.
Until you're not.
Don't succumb to the come-ons for cheap followers. Even if it's just a
dollar, it's a dollar wasted — or worse.
If you've never bought followers, it's likely you have a few fakes and
inactive accounts following you anyway. That's not your fault; they're out there
and most people have some!
It's a good idea to periodically do some housecleaning and get rid of the
accounts that aren't doing anything for you. The in-house team of social media
strategists at EMSI Public Relations shared their thoughts on how to do this for
the largest platforms — Twitter and Facebook:
to see what percentage of followers on an account are genuine, inactive or
fake. If 80 percent or more of your following is good, you don't have to
worry about appearing disreputable. And keep in mind, the tools that tell
you how many fakes you have are neither foolproof nor entirely accurate.
That said, fake and inactive followers don't do you any good. Engaging
users — having them respond to, retweet, favorite and "like" your content —
is what helps create future customers. Clean house by running your account
through ManageFlitter.com. This app
identifies which of your followers are fake, among other details, and allows
you to easily remove them.
[to top of second column]
Businesses, brands, artists and others using
Facebook to interact for promotional purposes use pages
specifically designated by Facebook for that purpose. People
simply "like" your business page rather than submit a friend
request as they do with personal pages. The number of likes you
have indicates the number of followers you have. Again, since
the value of the platform is getting people to engage by sharing
and "liking" your content, it's better to have 500 engaged
potential customers than 10,000 followers in India.
Review those who have liked your
Review who's following you by going to the "admin panel" in the
upper left-hand corner of your community page and clicking "See
all likes." Go through the list — you may recognize names of
regular customers or people who often "like" or comment on your
content. Check the user profiles of the ones you don't know, or
who look less than genuine, to decide if they're real people.
The list gives you the option to remove anyone with the click of
If you haven't purchased followers, cleaning house once in a
while shouldn't be much of a chore. Your reward will be having a
higher percentage of engaged users who will actually help spread
your message to other potential customers or clients.
Marsha Friedman is a 24-year veteran of the public relations
industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a top public
relations firm that provides PR and social media services to
businesses, professional firms, entertainers and authors. Friedman
is the author of "Celebritize Yourself: The Three Step Method to
Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business." Tune in for her
weekly BlogTalkRadio show,
Insider," every Thursday at 3 p.m. EST. Follow her on Twitter:
[Text from file received from
News and Experts]