Money can't buy a quality social media following.
By Michelle Cuthbert
A growing list of research studies show that brands who earn their followers naturally by being patient and consistent have greater success on social platforms.
Over the last few years, we have seen a trend of businesses increasing their social media followers by hundreds and thousands by spending a significant amount of money on social media platforms. This approach does generate a greater number of followers, but it isn't a guarantee that they are actually reaching their targeted audience.
If you are trying to build your social media platforms and thinking about taking the "easy way out" to get followers, use these facts to help you reconsider:
Paid followers spam authentic followers: This isn't something that happens every time, but often these services ask to access the account so they can send multiple advertising messages to followers. If too many messages are being sent, authentic followers will become overwhelmed and, more than likely, end up unfollowing the account. There will be low engagement on posts: If the account is loaded with paid fans, there will be low engagement on the posts, because it won't reach the target audience that is actually interested in the topics. Actual fans will easily be able to recognize that the majority of the page is filled with fake accounts. The posts will have a limited reach: If the account is built from authentic followers, they will do all the hard work for the brand by sharing and interacting on social media posts. However, if the account is followed by robot accounts, there won't be any engagement. This is a missed opportunity to build the brand online. ROI (return on investment) will not be accurate: If the brand isn't building relationships with real people, nothing will be invested back into the business. Customers want to buy from brands they know and trust. So, if the brand's name isn't getting real followers, nobody is going to know the brand, which won't return money back to the business. Eventually they get discovered and risk losing their reputation: If authentic followers realize that the account has several paid followers, they may begin to lose trust in the brand and question why real people aren't following the platform. They also may be led to believe that the brand has done something unethical to build social media presence. In addition, it's a huge risk because this practice can lead to an account can be suspended or deleted by doing this practice.
If you are trying to build your brand on social media, keep in mind the things that do count, such as the amount of engagement the page receives regularly, the number of client lists who add the brand and the traffic that the website and social efforts deliver. If you do this for your brand, everything else will fall into place.
Michele Cuthbert is the CEO of Baker Creative, a global WBE-, DBE- and MBE-certified creative brand management firm. For more information, visit baker-creative.com orbcrelativity.com.