Are Fake Followers Worth It?
Fake followers are EVERYWHERE to be found. From the million and above influencers to the media products who gain thousands by the day. One has to begin to wonder though, what benefit (if any) is even gained by getting thousands of bots to add to your following.
We all know the benefits for influencers and micro-influencers: Vanity measures. If you are seeking to make a profit by being an influencer, then you obviously would need to show people that you can “influence” people to like your pics, follow your channels, and even leave comments on your content.
For a brand, you might be seeking investors, sponsorships, or credibility for people to buy your service or product. If you have 20 users on social media following your jacket company, for example, you might not be able to convince people that the jackets you provide are trendy or likable. We all want to be the envy of our peers, so a jacket company with 100K followers might persuade a trendsetter or fashion mogul to make a purchase and maybe even tag the company on their channel too.
So far it sounds like buying “fans” is the way to go right?! The simple answer is yes AND no! Confused yet?! Let me clear things up. For vanity measures, buying followers has its benefits but for small to medium-size businesses or companies who need trackable ROI, this can be beyond damaging. It can damage your brand, reputation, and even your sales.
Think about it. If I’m selling candles online from a small shop around the corner, a bot is not going to click the “shop” or “buy now” button on any of the social media platforms. If I’m a smaller business owner, would it be more beneficial to me to buy followers for appearance, or to invest in advertising on these platforms to encourage people to buy from me or visit my store? Most smaller businesses have a limited budget on what they can spend online in order to make a return on their investment and bots have 0 trackable return in most cases.
The other downfall is organically, your social media channel is only shown to about 1-2 percent of your followers. If you are looking for people to order from you, buy from you, or go to your website, the bots it’s now reaching are not going to do that. It’s FAR more beneficial to use your advertising budget to reach your REAL users, who will buy your products, use your services, and grow your business.
Another checkmark on the con list of pros vs cons would be appearing disingenuous to your real followers. People can tell when profiles aren’t real and if they start to catch on by seeing the “fake” comments by bots, people begin to question your authenticity as well. If they are questioning you, they may begin to question what you stand for or what service you provide. If you are just beginning to build your brand, this can be detrimental. Once you lose credibility, it may take you years IF you ever get it back.
To swing things back around to the original question, “Are fake followers worth it?”
My answer remains the same. It all depends on who you are, your online social media strategy, your short-term goals, long-term goals, and what you stand to gain or lose. It can be greatly beneficial with the right budget and planning, but harmful in the long run for people building their platform off of trust and honesty. At the end of the day, weigh your options and if it’s still confusing, be sure to consult a marketing company that can give you an honest perspective on how to grow your channels with or without them.