7 Reasons to Avoid Buying Followers on Social Media

How many followers does your business have on social media? A high follower count is essential to your business’s social media marketing (SMM) performance. It will place more eyes on your business’s profiles, as well as its content, resulting in more potential customers.

Rather than buying followers, though, you should procure them organically. Buying followers on social media can backfire while subsequently harming your business’s SMM performance in the seven following ways.

Low Engagement

Engagement among paid followers is low at best and nonexistent at worst. When you buy followers, you won’t get real users to follow your business on social media networking sites. Paid followers typically consist of fake accounts that are mass-created using bots.

Because they are fake accounts and not real users, paid followers won’t interact with your business. They won’t like or share your business’s content, nor will they send direct messages to your business inquiring about its products or services. The only engagement you’ll generate from paid followers is the occasional generic message. Therefore, the social media profiles for which you buy followers will all suffer from low or nonexistent engagement.

Association With Spam

Your business will become associated with spam if you buy followers. Buying followers is a spam-based marketing tactic. As your business’s follower count grows with paid followers, other users will associate your business with spam.

When real users visit your business’s social media profiles, they’ll probably notice its paid followers. It’s easy to distinguish between paid followers and real, organically procured followers. Paid followers often have a generic profile picture with few or no connections. Regardless, real users can easily identify paid followers. And upon discovering them on your business’s social media profiles, they’ll associate your business with spam.

Fewer Advertising Options

Buying followers may result in fewer advertising options. Most social media networking sites have an advertising service. You can use these services to maximize your business’s exposure. The problem with buying followers, however, is that it can restrict your advertising options.

Facebook and Twitter both support lookalike audiences for their respective advertising services. You can choose a lookalike audience for Facebook Ads or Twitter Ads that reflects your business’s social media followers. Unfortunately, choosing a lookalike audience for paid followers is a waste of money. The lookalike audience will consist of users who match the interests and demographics of the paid followers, the latter of which are fake accounts.

Low Follower Retention

You may struggle to retain paid followers. Retention rates among paid followers are substantially lower than those for real followers. Once you’ve paid for followers, there’s no incentive for the service provider to keep them on your business’s social media profiles. The provider may decide to switch those paid followers to other businesses’ social media profiles.

Even if the provider doesn’t remove the paid followers, you may not retain them. Social media networking sites proactively delete fake accounts. They use a variety of technologies to identify fake accounts, which they’ll delete. As social media networking sites discover your business’s paid followers, they may delete their fake accounts.

Account Suspension

Buying followers is a gamble. It comes with the risk of having your account suspended. Buying followers is against the terms of service for many social media networking sites. Some of them will issue a warning for your first violation, whereas others will suspend your account without giving you the opportunity to stop.

You can read Twitter’s stance on paid followers at help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/platform-manipulation. Under the “Engagement and metrics” section, Twitter says that selling or buying followers is prohibited and, thus, grounds for account suspension. If your business has a Twitter profile, you shouldn’t buy followers for it.

There are some social media networking sites that won’t suspend your account for buying followers. Facebook’s terms of service, for instance, don’t explicitly prohibit businesses and other users from buying followers. Nonetheless, Facebook will delete all fake accounts, including those of paid followers.

Lack of Analytics Data

You won’t gain any useful analytics data from buying followers. You find some data displayed in the analytics section of your business’s profiles, but it won’t offer any value. The analytics data will consist of performance metrics related to fake accounts. Paid followers are fake accounts, so you can’t trust their performance metrics.

For valuable analytics data that you can apply for marketing purposes, you’ll need to encourage real users to follow your business’s social media profiles. Real users have real accounts, and unlike paid followers, they will engage with your business. You can then use these accurate performance metrics to improve your marketing strategy.

Costs Money

It costs money to buy followers. Different service providers charge different amounts for paid followers. With that said, the average cost of a paid follower is about 10 cents to $1. If you buy 10,000 followers, you’ll have to pay around $1,000 to $10,000. And because fake accounts are often deleted by social media networking sites, you may have to make several purchases to maintain a high follower count.

Procuring real followers organically, on the other hand, won’t cost you a penny. Publishing content is an easy way to procure more real followers. Even if a user doesn’t currently follow your business on a social media networking site, he or she may see the content. Users may see the content in their personalized feed, which may compel them to follow your business.

You can also procure real followers using your business’s own website. Just embed follow buttons on your business’s website that point to its social media profiles. Users may want to follow your business on one or more social media networking sites after visiting its website. Follow buttons allow them to do so with a single click.

Buying followers might seem like a shortcut to SMM success, but it’s more of a roadblock than anything. It will result in low engagement, association with spam, fewer advertising options, low follower retention, the potential for account suspension and other problems. You’ll have more success by procuring real followers organically.