If your Twitter efforts aren’t living up to your expectations, you might be tempted to buy followers to bolster your online image. But are these services really all they’re cracked up to be? Read today’s article to find out if it’s a wise investment or an ill-advised risk.
Social media can be a lot of work – trust me, I know. You offer awesome products and write amazing content, promote the heck out of it on Twitter, and sit back and wait for the retweets, favorites and new followers to roll in… and then they don’t. Yikes! It can be frustrating to slave away attempting to build connections and networks online, only to see your follower count move sluggishly along, or maybe not budge at all.
An easy “solution”
It’s easy to feel impatient and discouraged when this happens to you. “I can barely top 100 followers, but that guy has over 100,000? What gives?!” When you’re in that state of mind, paying for a huge load of instant followers might sound pretty appealing. And to tempt you even further, there are tons of sites that offer just that – simply Google “buy Twitter followers” and see what comes up.
Notice how they all promise the same thing. For only a small investment, they can deliver instant Twitter followers. “They’re real!” these sites say. “They RT your tweets! 100% active followers! 1,000 followers for just $10! Guaranteed not to unfollow!”
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
How does it work?
Shrouded in mystery, these services have slick websites with glitzy promises, but the way they manifest your followers is a little icky. The sad reality is this: most of the time, the followers you’re paying for are bots. You know, those default egg avatars with funky usernames who just tweet gobbledygook? Yep, those are bots, and if you send money to one of these sites, you’re likely just paying for bots to be your new Twitter followers.
Site administrators create bots in big batches, or it’s possible that some of the smaller services manually go through Twitter and sign up empty accounts one at a time, over and over again. Then you send money to them and they set a batch of accounts to follow your Twitter handle, resulting in a huge spike of followers.
A big follower number looks good, especially if you’re a business or other high-profile internet entity (or are trying to be one). It implies credibility, popularity and influence. A newcomer who stumbles across your Twitter profile might see that you have thousands upon thousands of followers and could very well decide that you must be so Twitter-popular for a reason and follow you as well.
Also, yes, I’ll concede that it’s cheap. You can get thousands of followers for just $10 or $20, and I’ve seen some sites with huge offers like 100,000 for $250. That’s much less expensive than paying for a social media manager or web designer.
Keep in mind, though: you get what you pay for.
A bunch of accounts following you might look impressive upon first glance, but what are these empty “egg” accounts really getting you? These aren’t real people who will support your ideas, click your links or buy your products. These accounts might be set to auto-RT you, but keep this in mind: no real person knowingly follows a fake bot on Twitter. Those bots are tweeting and sharing to nobody, meaning your carefully created content is falling upon deaf ears.
While buying followers isn’t technically forbidden in Twitter’s Terms of Service, it’s definitely judged unfavorably in the social media community. Most Twitter users won’t be monitoring your follower count every day (except possibly very loyal devotees or competitors who are keeping track of your progress), but your follower list is open to the public, and anyone who checks it out will see a huge list of empty accounts, and that doesn’t make a good impression. You know that credibility, popularity and influence I mentioned in the last section? Nullified. A giant batch of obviously bought followers shows that you weren’t confident enough in your site and your social media skills to build a follower base on your own. It also implies that you aren’t afraid to take the easy way out and try to pull the wool over potential new followers’ eyes when it comes to your influence and authority.
Hmm… somebody who doesn’t believe in their own site and will use shady methods to try to convince others of their worth? That’s not someone I’m very invested in following on Twitter, not to mention doing business with online. I can guarantee that most internet-savvy folks share my sentiment.
Too good to be true
Buying a bushel of Twitter followers to boost your image might sound like a simple solution to your social problem, but just like the old saying goes… if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are other, simpler ways to make your Twitter account impressive and engaging.
Before giving into paying for fake friends, try these steps:
- Customize your Twitter design to reflect your site’s design aesthetic. It’s really easy to customize your colors, background, bio, and avatar. No professional design skills needed. Anything more than the default settings show that you put time and effort into your Twitter persona.
- This should go without saying, but regularly post links to valuable content, promotions for your online business, etc. Use hashtags on relevant keywords for users who may be searching for just what you’re Tweeting about.
- Engage with other users! Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move – if you read a Tweet that resonates with you, or if you really admire a Twitter influencer in your industry, don’t be afraid to RT or send them a quick response. I can’t guarantee that the influencers with tons of followers will answer, but it’s always worth a shot. Smaller businesses and users will usually respond to you in kind.
- Similarly, don’t be shy about following other users. Twitter is a public platform. People are tweeting because they want others to read what they’re saying, so you don’t have to wait for someone to follow you first or only follow users you know offline. You might be surprised at who will follow you back!
- Send an email to your current customer base asking them to follow you on Twitter – nothing else needed here, just a simple message that links to your Twitter account and asks them to follow you for exclusive discounts and advice.
I know social media can be frustrating when it comes to gaining followers and getting them to share your content, but I can promise you, wasting money on one of these “buy me Twitter followers sites” is definitely not the answer! I’ve seen similar “services” for Facebook and YouTube floating out there, and I can’t get behind that either.
Just remember this: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush… and a real follower on Twitter is worth two million bots from a website.
– Emily Teachout, Volusion