What do these three things have in common: Carrying a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag, Plagiarism and Buying Facebook or Twitter followers and fans? If you guessed they are all fake, then you’re correct. All of these scream, “I’m a phony!” Some people may believe these things are valid, acceptable and ethical. In some cases, maybe they are. But in business, they shouldn’t be.
How Credible Are Fake Followers?
Companies have recently been resorting to buying followers and fans to enhance their online credibility and web presence. More often than not, the practice of buying followers comes from a combination of a brand’s lack of understanding of social media and internal pressures to be seen as active on social media channels at the same time. However, social marketing is not a playground for false impressions. The irony is: how credible are fake followers? And how do they impact your engagement rate? Truly successful companies interact with their fans, contribute to the online experience and respond to fan questions or comments. In other words, brands are social on social media.
Sure, when a page has hundreds or thousands of Likes or a Twitter account has thousands of followers, it looks appealing. People may think, “Wow, they’re popular, they must be important.” They are attracted and interested, maybe even curious. But, how can a brand be socially devoted to fake followers? And let’s face it, socially devoted is the new standard in social media.
The best way to appear credible to your fans is by interacting and responding to their posts. A brand's social media presence is equally (if not more) important as more traditional forms of communication because it is in the public domain and as such can have an incredible impact on a company’s image and reputation.
Don't Be A Fake Handbag
A brand’s quality is called into question when it comes to hiding under the veil of fake customers or followers. Similar to purchasing a fake designer handbag (odds are the quality is not great and it will likely fall apart in a short amount of time), the value of a brand will soon be revealed as that high number of followers sits motionless contributing nothing to the validity and value of the brand itself.
Because buying followers is a popular tactic these days, there are obviously opposing opinions on the practice. However, the lasting benefits of such an approach can only be measured by evaluating the success of the brand.
It takes work to grow a social fan base. It doesn't happen overnight, but the work pays off. When fans are happy with interactions and feedback, quickly solved issues and engaging content to play with, the satisfaction spreads. Friends will notice, friends will wonder and friends will follow. When you follow a quality marketing strategy you end up with quality fans. Building a quality social media community that will be engaged and help you share your content virally doesn't come from one campaign, but rather as result of sustained and committed approach, long term community management and customer care, as well as listening to your customer’s needs. It may be a cliché, but it’s a true one: “Rome wasn't built in a day.”