Can’t Buy Me Love! Wait, Yes You Can. But DON’T.

Have you ever been following someone on Twitter or Instagram (who is NOT a celebrity) and noticed a huge spike in their number of followers from one day to the next?  I have.  It’s weird. Does such an increase make me, the follower, think that what you have to say suddenly got more interesting or credible?  Nope.  Do I suddenly find you to be more important?  Nope.  Especially when a quick check of who the influx of followers are provides all the evidence I need to see that most (if not all) of this newly found flock are fake accounts rather than real people.

Here’s a look at the follower numbers for an account that buys followers periodically.  You can clearly see the days that purchases were made and days that Twitter does massive fake account deletions.

Followers for Twitter account that purchases followers

In my mind, the purpose of Twitter is to keep up with what’s going on in the world and to engage in conversations with people all over the globe about the things that interest me, which could be anything from current events to wine to social issues to marketing to sushi.  So why would anyone in their right mind buy followers??


Perhaps to make oneself seem more important?  That is honestly the only reason I can think of that a person would buy followers for a their own account.  But what if you’re a marketer tweeting for a brand?  What if your performance evaluation is in part based on increasing follower counts?  If your organization’s perception of Twitter success is solely based on follower growth, then I guess knock yourself out. Buy away.  But you’re worried about measuring the WRONG THING.

As Eric Sornoso at BoostLikes noted in a recent post, Twitter is continuously cracking down on fake accounts and the accounts they follow, so the best thing to do is stick with organic growth unless you really feel like wasting money and finding yourself if Twitter’s cross-hairs.  Furthermore, we (the rest of the world) KNOW you’re buying followers.  It’s not exactly a stealthy practice, you know.  And we find it sad, really.  This post from Mary Long over at MediaBistro in 2012 states it perfectly:

Beyond sporting a follower count that, upon investigation, largely consists of faceless eggs that are obvious non-tweeting fakes, you will be telling people much more about yourself than you probably would like – such as:

  • You think you’re smarter than everyone else (“They’ll never know.”)
  • You’re deceptive and make no apology for it (“So what if I do this? Who cares?”)
  • You have low self-esteem. Much like a fast car, an inflated follower count will not fix this.
  • You’re a fraud.

This last one is the most important as misguided Twitter novices might think this boost is a good idea, when it’s actually a credibility killer.

Thank you, Mary!  Could not have said it any better myself.


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