The buying of social followers, likes, views, chatters and even listeners is not new, it’s surprisingly common. A lot of creators, businesses and personalities buy followers to manage perception for many reasons.
Reasons why people buy followers
For creators, it gives the illusion that they are important in the social media world. They can utilise this perception falsely to promote companies (looking for exposure) or plights (think World Vision etc.).
People normally boost personality accounts as a bragging right. They create a competitive branding result to show how famous they are. They then leverage their fame to promote companies or plights at a cost.
For businesses, it’s normally to secure either a name or give them the illusion of credibility. The more followers/likes a business has, the more likely real people discover it, trust it and believe it to be legitimate.
The problem with buying followers
For marketers and influencer managers seeking to identify real human beings with actual influence, this proves to be a headache. For social media account managers who are tasked with building a brand when given an account that has fake followers or likes, it’s a nightmare.
Businesses/personalities/creators that have amassed fake followers have introduced a fatal and possibly devastating disadvantage. When it comes to analysing what content works and what doesn’t work, you don’t actually know.
Bought followers skew demographic results horribly. Essentially, you are faced with waiting for the platforms to do all the hard work and remove the accounts for you… in a year’s time when the next algorithm sweeps your way.
Why you should worry if you’ve bought followers, likes, etc.
For personalities or creators that have utilised purchased followers… you should start feeling nervous. You may discover yourself being outed as companies and interested parties begin to analyse the internet looking for real influential beings.
A radio personality was outed in NZ recently by a bored social media executive. They discovered an inconsistency in followers on Twitter with massive spikes in their history of followers. “How can your Twitter following be twice as much as the Twitter NZ population?” he asked.
He was answered with a block. Soon after, the NZ Twitterati had quickly turned the radio personality’s presence into a joke. This personality is a well-loved NZ character and the need to increase their followers seems stupid, yet they aren’t the only one.
A quick search of Australia’s so-called online influential people has found a staggering amount of bought followers, chatters and video views.
The case of Twitch, Instagram and YouTube
And the worst case offenders? Twitch, Instagram & YouTube.
One site who sells followers specifically for Twitter responded to my questions regarding the number of users who purchase retweets, likes or follows:
According to our research, at least 28% of Twitter users buy likes, followers, retweets.
Although, even they admit the number is probably higher as some have flown under the radar.
YouTube creators use similar services for the same reasons shared above. They hope that companies will see their followers and inundate them with products or better pay to promote said companies.
I caught up with a social media executive for a global company who was in Sydney recently. I asked for his opinion on users buying to boost accounts:
They cheat themselves in the long run as brands have become smart to the scam and are actively auditing potential influencer profiles using many different measures.
Think about it like this: If it was easy for you to find the services to fake your account then why would you think that companies don’t already know about them?
When asked if he kept a blacklist of users who boost their accounts?: “Decline to comment”
Twitch user numbers are just crazy. A service that specialises in viewbots (a computer algorithm that will increase your view count) said they’ve provided their high-end service to over 6000 Twitch users with great results.
When asked about the benefit of Twitch users utilising this type of service they responded with the following: “The more viewers you have on your channel (humans or bots), the higher ranked you will be on your stream site, and the more human viewers will come watch your stream”.
Originally posted on HashtagMe.co.nz