Social Media Followers a Necessary Evil or a Must Today?

Social Media Followers

Social Media Followers

We have all wanted more social media followers since the early 2000’s when social media began to take off. We read how this person or that person had thousands or millions of followers. Wow, that set the bar right up there in social media!

Many people were getting paid to post or tweet this or that. Others found new jobs because of their follower count and so called influence. According to the Money Pantry “People with a lot of twitter followers (sometimes called Twitlebrities) are regularly getting paid to tweet about certain companies or products.”

It is no wonder people want to have more social media followers to make a quick extra buck. In light of the recent news this made me wonder: Do we really need to prove our influence by the number of followers we have on each of the social networks? Or is the content we produce time after time again worth more?

Is this any different from actresses and models who do anything to be anorexia thin to keep their jobs? Women who do not leave their houses without make-up? Where do we draw the line?

'People with a lot of twitter followers (sometimes called Twitlebrities) are regularly getting paid to tweet about certain companies or products.'Click To Tweet

Social Media Followers at a Price Offered

Facebook Want Button Facebook likes

Remember the days when everybody was buying Facebook likes directly from Facebook? They still are offering it today and many do purchase the first likes for their pages. The difference today is your can pick and choose a demographic and audience for those likes.

Back in the day it was anybody and anyone that could like your page. This is more of a disservice to all. Facebook pages were designed to grab the attention of people in your niche. Maybe Facebook pages with less likes will generate more engagements going forward!

Hence there were many companies that offered these Facebook likes for less money than Facebook. I remember getting phone calls all the time as I had a retail website. They wanted to sell me Facebook likes left and right!

Of course as seen below there are still 491,000,000 queries that come up for buying Facebook likes today! Do Facebook likes really boost traffic and sales? You may remember the post I wrote back in July about how Facebook likes does not translate into making money.

facebook likes for sale

Instagram Followers

Have you seen how many services they are now for generating yourself some Instagram followers? Today many are making money from this social network and Instagram was barely mentioned in the news about their fake followers. If you are on Instagram you may notice many users follow and un-follow you quicker than on any other social media network out there.

Instagram Followers

Other Social Media Followers For Sale Too

Apparently any social media site that can generate money for users has followers for sale. YouTube also requires you to have many followers to make a few dollars on their social network. Pinterest is one that was not mentioned in the news about fake followers but I’d imagine they are there too.

Social Media Follower Tools

Therefore does this mean all the social media tools out there to help promote your accounts, will fall into this category of fake accounts? I’m not sure but I doubt it. Tweets can be seen more when using a tool like Just Retweet.

Likewise will these type of tools be considered fake? Viral Content Bee is another tool that many and myself used. Thousands of these tools are used by social media marketers every day to gain in the social media system. Is it just like putting make-up on your social media accounts?

Does making a gain via tool in the social media network means it's fake? #socialmediamarketingClick To Tweet

Social Media Followers on Twitter

followers

As a result Twitter received the most attention in the news of the fake follower factory.  It was not just the fake followers that caused this uproar but the bots generated. According to Wikipedia:

“A Twitterbot is a type of bot software that controls a Twitter account via the Twitter API. The bot software may autonomously perform actions such as tweeting, retweeting, liking, following, unfollowing, or direct messaging other accounts.”

Obviously these type of actions on the Twitter network make anyone wonder. Who is real and who is only a bot? No wonder I have been receiving so many direct messages. Those nasty DM’s are usually just a bot.

Social Quant for Twitter – Different?

I asked the folks over at Social Quant about their services that I’ve recommended from time to time. Here is the response:

“The difference is actually quite substantial. That report detailed that Devumi was buying fake accounts and then selling those in bulk as followers. In Devumi’s case the accounts were fake clones of real accounts at best or just flat out fake accounts at worst.

Social Quant, on the other hand, monitors Twitter for real people using the keywords you provide us. When we find them, we run them through a series of filters to ensure they are good accounts to follow and not tweeting inappropriate content and then follow those accounts on your behalf. If they follow back, great, that a connection. And, if not, we will unfollow them after a time.

So any time you gain a follower through Social Quant, it is a real person who chose to follow you back, presumably because they came back to your profile and are interested in connecting with you. ”

So any time you gain a follower through Social Quant, it is a real person who chose to follow you back, presumably because they came back to your profile and are interested in connecting with you. ' #socialquantClick To Tweet

The Real People on Twitter

Many will wonder now – who is real on Twitter? People who interact with you on the Twitter network and off are real. Those than interact with you on any other social media network tend to be real. Friends that you talk to on the phone or via email are more likely to be real as it gets.

The news organizations that are reporting this is in fear of social media too. It has torn apart their businesses. We have to decide for ourselves who is real and who is not of our social media followers.

I can tell you folks like Sam Hurley, Ryan BiddulphNeal Schaffer, Ted Rubin and Mike Allton are real. They engage with you on and off the networks.

I can tell you folks like Sam Hurley, Ryan Biddulph, Neal Schaffer, Ted Rubin and Mike Allton are real. They engage with you on and off the networks. #socialmediaClick To Tweet

Does Content Matter for Influencer Marketing?

Does content now count for influence? I think content will count more in the future. It will count more than the number of social media followers one can produce on any given channel.

Our content is our home. It’s where we speak our minds and sometimes let others speak too via the comments. And yes bots are around here too. They try to come every once in while to make us wonder. Is that person real or a fake leaving a comment? We have to decide based on what we know in the moment. Maybe we need a anti-bot software 🙂

What Are Your Thoughts?

I’d love to know in the comments below if you will do anything different with your social media marketing since this all came out. Will you still use following tools for your social media? Will you focus more on your content?

If you need help crafting a REAL Twitter profile don’t forget to get my Twitter Profile cheat sheet today! 


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Lisa loves helping others to thrive online through Content Marketing with Social Media, Blogging and SEO. What good is knowledge if you cannot share it with others? She has 20+ years experience in marketing/advertising with 7 years experience in content marketing, social media, blogging and SEO. Check out her latest eBook "Learn to Tweet and Thrive on Twitter" now on Amazon.

25 comments On Social Media Followers a Necessary Evil or a Must Today?

  • Hi Lisa,

    I have never bought any followers. I want folks to follow me because they have a need for what I’m sharing and trust that I’m providing the latest and trendiest info. 🙂

    Since I work with brands through my Not Now Mom’s Busy blog, I don’t worry about social media followers but I keep up with the number I have and work towards gaining new ones organically or through page promotion. I am more focused on the engagement part.

    For my web design business, I’m strictly going by engagement and being a resource for bloggers and hopefully get new clients, so I’m not concerned about the number of social followers I have.

    I have noticed how fast I get and lose Instagram followers. But regardless of how many I follwers I do or don’t have, I still can’t see myself purchasing followers.

    I do like Social Quant’s take though…I’m definitely going to check into that.

    Great post Lisa! Hope you’re having a great week so far. 🙂
    Cori

    • Hi Cori, Do you find it harder now with 2 or is it 3 accounts? I love having the engagement too over the followers. I so agree about Instagram, it’s like they are really trying to game the system on that social network. I’ve slowed down there for a while to see what happens 🙂 Do check out Social Quant, I’ve used them from time to time and really like them. Michael left a great comment explaining how it really works. Thanks Cori and I appreciate your coming by. Enjoy the rest of your week.

  • Thanks Lisa for the mention of Social Quant and great post.

    On the surface, one’s following count is simply a vanity metric, as many online will regurgitate, though unfortunately as a society the majority will initially judge someone based on their following (social proof). Many aren’t aware of how to check someones following to see if they’re actually real or bought and make the FIRST impression simply on the count.

    Though as we know, many won’t buy or become even a prospect on a first impression, and thus the key for marketers (SMB”s) is that you have to be engaging and building relationships with your followers. Can one completely automate the process of building a following and driving traffic to a website on Twitter? Yes, but the beauty and real growth comes from the dialogue we have with one another.

    Yes SQ builds followers, but really its what we’re doing in the background that anyone can do using Twitter Search that makes our process work. You listen for people who are having LIVE conversations on Twitter around you brand, niche or peers, and make sure they’re a real account (algorithm does this) and then follow them. If you have a great profile and followed the right person, because you’re similar to what they were just tweeting about, they’ll follow you back and now the ball is in your court to build the relationship because back to what I said originally, that’s only the first touch point and you need to have many.

    Just my 2 cents 🙂 Great post!

    • Hi Michael, thank you so much for coming by and explaining how this works with Social Quant. I love how you say “the ball is in your court to build the relationship”….that’s really the whole point. I have found a few “well known” folks on Twitter that never engage, makes me sad to see that.
      I’ve also noticed that if you don’t do a genuine tweet Twitter lets your know now too. The other day I believe Feb 2nd they let me know I hadn’t tweeted in a month (or 2 days)…..I had done re-tweets and such but not one from scratch.
      Have a great day Michael!

  • Hello Lisa,

    Wonderful Post. I usually don’t like to buy likes and followers as most of them are done through bots. However, there are certain social media management tools like Sproutsocial, HootSuite etc which is really very helpful to social media management. Thanks for sharing these great insights here.

    Have a Great Day 🙂
    Vishwajeet

    • Thanks Vishwajeet. Interesting that all may be bots. That makes sense since how would a human do all that so quickly? They are helpful but do they gain the system? I’m still thinking on that Vishwajeet. Thanks for coming by on this one and have a great new week ahead.

  • It’s very important to grow fan base on Social Media Platforms but that should come naturally without buying the fake likes or getting the dull users.
    Social Media Followers are a precious asset to possess and to grow with.
    I must appreciate your effort to write such a wonderful post.
    I have a query for you, can you suggest me how to increase likes on FB page?
    I know there are hundreds of articles on the web but the problem is they never present the right technique to do so. Thanks.
    Quotes for True Friendship
    MotivationJet recently posted..Inspirational Moral Stories- Another Point of ViewMy Profile

    • Hello Motivation Jet, welcome to Inspire to Thrive. For Facebook likes ask those that are your readers and Twitter followers. You can purchase likes via Facebook but if you do it- do it very targeted. Pick your audience very carefully. Then of course post great content and use some video in the mix. Good luck and I’d love to know how it goes. Thanks for coming by and have a great day!

  • Lisa: How about neither? 😉 Gaining social media followers (in a sound way), is a good think. But it is not a “must”. You should understand why you should be involved in social media activities. You should do it by free will! 🙂

  • Hello Lisa,

    Awesome post!

    There’s nothing as bad and dangerous to a brand like buying likes. It results to poor engagement. I think there’s a tool for checking real number of followers. Advertisers who understand this can never be deceived.

    Emenike

    • Hi Emenike, thanks for your opinion here. It’s interesting to hear how different feel about this topic. Advertisers would not hire anyone with a very small following. Yet having bots as followers is not doing anyone any good either. Thanks Emenike for coming by on this one! Have a great weekend.

  • Hey Lisa,

    How have you been?

    Your words on whether we need more followers to prove our influence or the quality of content is a clear indicator, made me thoughtful. Content quality is surely the first thing to prove one’s influence, but in today’s era, we can not ignore the numbers either.

    However, I totally agree that, one must achieve those numbers in a natural and engaging manner. Until unless one has the real follower base, any number (however big it is) can not actually help in the long run.

    Thank you for sharing your insights on the topic.

    Take care and have a great day 🙂

    • Hi Manidipa, I’ve been well, thank you. Nice to see you back here. I love your point “unless one has the real follower base, any number (however big it is) can not actually help in the long run” BINGO, that’s it Manidipia! You truly understood what I was saying here. You really need both but not fake bots to follow along. Thanks for coming by and for your valued input on this one. Have a wonderful weekend.

  • Hi Lisa,

    Great read and I’ve actually never purchased my followers. To tell you the truth, I don’t really focus on social media followers. I know I probably should.

    I figure if someone likes my content then they will follow me. I know that followers are important because that’s how you get more shares on your content.

    But to tell you the truth, I’d rather put my attention on my email subscribers.

    I won’t ever buy followers because to me those people won’t be interested at all in what you do.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Hope you’re doing well, have a great weekend.

    Susan

    • Hi Susan, thank you. May I ask what you are using for your email provider Susan? Yes, it is true, why have followers that are not interested in your shares? That is a waste of time. But what if there were targeted like Social Quant? You are welcome Susan and have a great weekend.

  • Hi Lisa,

    I rather have less followers that are real people than more who aren’t or just don’t care. Some of my followers I don’t even know lol. This is why on Twitter as well as other social media sites, I do delete some people (I think) from time to time. I like to have my content fresh and share others that are engaging. Like you … I have had some mini conversations with you on Twitter. I know you are real.

    I cannot believe people are still buying followers. I have to chuckle because this stuff went out years ago. And who wants followers that are not interested in what I have to say, more than that….what I have to sell?

    Cheers!

    -Donna

  • Hey Lisa,

    Not everyone knows the importance of having the social media followers.

    It’s a must in this era where everything is dependent on the social media platforms.

    Whether you want your blog to scale or any online business, you need more people who follow you.

    Thanks for bringing this up.
    ~Ravi

    • Hi Ravi, true, but do you think they should be purchasing them? I don’t blame the folks that purchased them but more the company that gave them bots along with the followers and/or bots as followers. I would not bots to raise my follower count. They would be useless. Thanks for coming by on this one Ravi and have a great rest of the week.

      • Hey Lisa,

        Never buy followers. If you can’t have the engagement, what’s the point of showing the numbers?

        I am about to have 50K followers on Twitter and you know about LinkedIn too.

        I never recommend to buy. People offer 5000 followers for $39 and its ridiculous.

        ~Ravi

  • Great read, Lisa! Good morning!

    First off, I have to admit. I’m one of those who won’t leave the house without my makeup AND hair done. I’ve always been that way. LOL

    Like Renard, I prefer to grow my following naturally, by interacting, communicating, etc. Buying them seems so cheesy and are they really real?

    Too many people are looking for the easy way and not enough busting their humps to do it the right way.

    I appreciate your read and bringing awareness to this.

    You know I’m passing it along. 🙂

    B
    Brenda Lee recently posted..If You Use Twitter, Jetpack Sharing Makes It Easy to NetworkMy Profile

    • Hi Bren, LOL. I love sometimes on a weekend day to go make-up free. I heard it helps save on our aging skin. I agree, too many are looking for the easy ways around everything. Do you think the tools we use though also reflect on this Bren?
      Thanks for coming by and hope you feel better today!

  • Definitely need those real human beings following you because said humans like your human-ness, your content and engagement. No way around that one Lisa. Loving this post because folks see now so buying followers is officially on the way out. Ego looks for quick ways to feel good about itself and to reason why numbers grow business, which is funny, right? Numbers never bought anything. Only humans can do that.

    If you want humans to follow you, click links and buy your stuff, befriend them by RTing their stuff and by engaging them. This is the direct way to garner the most human followers and to do social media right. Thanks so much for the mention!

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan, I think you are right about buying followers being on the way out. I think Instagram will be the last of that though. So many are doing it there and it was barely mentioned in the news. They love attacking Twitter.
      I agree, it’s more about the actual human connections we make and how we help others via them. You are one of the masters of it Ryan! Thank you for coming by on this one. Have a great day in the islands. Hope you have caught up on your jet lag!

  • [ Smiles ] I look upon social media as an asset.

    In regards to social media, I would prefer to do it the natural way. I detest the idea of buying followers.

    Real people usually interact with you on social media and as a blogger, I would want to interact with real people!

    • Hi Renard, I hear you. It’s gotten so far carried out since likes were first being sold and bought on Facebook. If you Google any of these services for social media you will find so many. It’s amazing! A big business for sure. Thanks for your input on this one Renard. Have a great day!

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