One of the most easily available metrics on social media is follower or fan numbers and anyone investing their time and effort into social media marketing is rightly going to be focused on them. We’d argue that while numbers are important as you do want your community to grow, it really isn’t the be all and end all and it is a REALLY bad idea to look to increase them by non-traditional ways, like buying followers.
Why numbers are important
Your follower numbers, amongst other things, do act as a form of social proof. They are an easy benchmark for your customers and prospects to view and can also help your SEO. And who doesn’t want to be seen to be popular. However, having the wrong ‘kind’ of followers can damage your social media
Why it’s about the right followers
The quality of your followers- in the context of what is right for your business- is what’s key. The algorithm which sits behind all social media platforms rewards engagement in the terms of likes, shares and comments. If you have many followers who don’t engage your posts will become less visible to your audience.
Why it can be damaging
Part of the power of Facebook and Instagram for businesses is the ability to cleverly slice and dice demographics and run targeted advertising campaigns. Having people who aren’t ‘true’ followers means that your advertising power is compromised- your absolute best audience is one who you can identify as being ‘warm’ to you- whether they are on your email list or have previously visited your website. One of the most powerful functionalities within this is the ability to create a Lookalike audience- Facebook will look at your page followers and choose audiences who are similar to them.
It probably seems quite obvious that ‘buying’ followers isn’t a great things to do strategically, but there are indirect ways you could be inadvertently damaging your engagement rates, like advertising for ‘page likes’ in markets which aren’t your target but are known for having cheaper followers. In short, it’s a really risky thing to do- if you change your mind and want to try and reverse it, you’ve created you and your team a lot of unnecessary work. Just keep on creating great content, aimed at your ideal customers and if they engage with your page, engage right back!