Nothing is quite as tempting as fake followers.
But the last thing you want is to create amazing social media content, publish it, and then have no one see it.
You create content to drive traffic to your website, leads to your business, and revenue to your pocket.
Without followers, fans, or friends, you can’t do any of those things.
At least, you can’t do them easily.
In fact, 40% of B2B marketers predicted that social media content would be one of the most critical tactics for content marketing success in 2017.
And they weren’t wrong.
I don’t need to give you specific examples of businesses that surged past competitors because of their remarkable social media content creation.
Naturally, you want to be one of those businesses.
You definitely don’t want to run a business that publishes content that no one sees.
And, ideally, you don’t just want people to see your content. You want them to engage with it.
You want them to convert.
But, of course, that is easier said than done. And when you’re in the middle of a failing strategy, buying followers really starts to look appealing.
After all, look at how reviews and recommendations influence consumers.
If they respect reviews that much, then they’ll surely think highly of your fake followers, right?
If nothing else, the fake followers will create social proof and encourage other real people to follow you.
At least, that’s the idea.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t work.
Just in case you think that you have a workaround strategy, though, let me start by discussing the two methods of buying followers.
And then I’ll tell you why both are a bad idea.
At the end, I’ll show you how you can delete your fake followers if you’ve made the mistake of buying them in the first place.
The two primary methods for buying fake followers
When it comes to buying fake followers, there are two primary methods.
Each claims that it’s trustworthy and legitimate.
Each, as I’m going to show you, is wrong.
Both are going to try and convince you of one of two things on their landing page.
- The followers are fake, but no one will be able to tell.
- The followers aren’t fake.
The first one is a complete lie, and the second one is a partial lie.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s dive into the first strategy that you could (but won’t) use to build a following with cold, hard cash.
First, there’s the downright spammy way.
This strategy is as simple as going to a website, paying them money, and then watching followers flood your account. However, you know that they’re fake followers.
Here’s an example of a website that does this.
Let me be honest. Any website that says, “Real Retweets & Followers” and then has a button to “Buy Followers” is outright lying.
You can’t have both.
You can’t pay money for followers on social media and then expect that those followers are committed to you or that there’s even a real person behind the account.
As you probably already know, most of these services function by creating a massive amount of fake accounts and then using them to follow their paying members.
There is a whole slew of problems with using that strategy that we’ll talk about shortly.
But before we talk about that, let’s talk about the second strategy that some people consider more reputable than the first. And it’s a bit more complex.
You go to a website, pay it to partially run your social media account, and then watch the followers flood in.
What does the site do when it’s running your account?
Well, it follows a ton of different people and then unfollows those people after a certain amount of time if they don’t return the favor.
Here’s an example of a website that does that.
Let me be honest.
Both of those strategies will build your follower base.
They do as they promise, and your follower count will surge forward quickly.
But at what cost?
As I hope you’ll see shortly, it’s a cost that is far too high.
In fact, here are five specific reasons that you should never buy fake followers and, if you have already, why you should delete them immediately.
1. It probably violates the platform’s terms of service
Unless you’re on some obscure, up-and-coming social media platform without rules and policies, fake followers probably directly violate the site’s terms of service.
Because here’s the thing: social media sites don’t want you to have fake followers.
They want people to build their following organically, and they want businesses to pay for it with advertisements.
Plus, the more spam there is on their platform, the more difficult it is to maintain a high-quality user experience.
So yeah. They discourage using fake followers every step of the way.
And they don’t just prohibit buying followers directly. They’re also against you paying another system to increase your follower base.
Here it is in the words of Instagram.
To put it simply, you’re not allowed to buy followers.
Why is that so important, though?
After all, who cares if Instagram doesn’t want you to do it?
Well, you should care.
Instagram and all other social media platforms reserve the right to delete your account whenever they want to.
And if they find that you’re not following the rules, they won’t hesitate to throw your account in the trash.
Clearly, that would be bad for business.
And it’s not just buying followers that’s risky. It’s also dangerous to pay a system to follow and unfollow accounts to try and grow your audience.
Here’s how Twitter restricts that, for instance.
Truthfully, this point should be enough to convince you to go and delete your fake followers right this moment.
If a platform deletes your account because you bought fake followers, then you definitely can’t build any kind of following.
You can’t pass go, and you don’t get $200.
The point is that with fake followers, you run the risk of having the powers that be delete your account.
2. Your follower count might surge, but your engagement rate won’t
If you’re like most people who buy fake followers, then you’re not looking at it as an eternal, always-on kind of strategy.
More than likely, you’re using it to give your social media account the boost it needs.
Then, you hope that more people will follow you because you now have so many followers.
Of course, that rarely actually works.
It’s a bit like the lottery.
People think that if they win the lottery then their whole life will change and they’ll be rich forever.
But, as you know, the winners usually end up bankrupt.
Because they acquired extreme wealth without knowing how to do so. In other words, they have a middle-class mindset and a massive bank account.
The truth is that you can’t build a following overnight and expect that you’ll continue the momentum.
Just look at this case study from AdEspresso.
Here are the engagement results using a regular method for building followers.
Now, look at their results when they used a bot to build followers.
Clearly, the regular method worked far better.
The reason is obvious, isn’t it?
When you buy followers and count on that to function as social proof, it’s not hard for real humans to tell that you don’t actually have committed followers.
People can tell because those thousands of followers aren’t engaging with your content.
Do you think that might be suspicious? It most definitely is.
Look at what happened with the comments in that same study.
These are the results from the regular method.
And here are the results for the bot method.
The point is that fake followers don’t engage with your content.
And that causes a natural and suspicious discrepancy between your follower count and your engagement rate.
If people see that you have thousands of followers, they might click to your account.
But once they start scrolling through your content and see that no one is engaging with your stuff, they’ll assume that you’re either buying your followers or your content is terrible.
Neither is good for your social media following – your following of real people, that is.
3. Fake followers put your reputation at risk
What if I told you that people will trust your business less than ever before?
How would that affect your opinion about buying followers?
After all, no one wants to follow an account that paid for their following. They want to follow profiles that actually create amazing content and connect with their audiences.
In other words, people want to follow, fan, circle, and friend those who have built their following organically.
Because that means you actually have something remarkable to say and that you deserve your following.
And who doesn’t want to follow someone that is consistently posting remarkable content?
Fake followers, on the other hand, have the opposite effect.
They will kill your following unintentionally when people find out, and it might even completely destroy your reputation as a trustworthy business.
And building trust in today’s world is hard enough. General trust is decreasing for corporations and governments alike.
In 2015, the percentage of people in the U.S who trusted businesses was around 60%.
Then, in 2016, that percentage dropped to 51%.
And the last thing you want to do is make building trust for your business harder than it already is.
Unfortunately, with fake followers, you do just that.
Trust me when I tell you that the short-term reward isn’t worth the long-term risk.
Consider this: Reviews influence 97% of people on a website.
This means that people care a lot about the popularity you generate. They care about what other people think of your business.
And if you’re trying to fake that social proof and they find out, your real followers aren’t going to be happy.
They trust you, and the last thing you want to do is violate that trust.
4. Fake followers make your marketing data inaccurate
What is a marketer without trustworthy data?
The truth is that every marketer needs access to reliable data to make informed decisions.
Without that data, a marketer isn’t really a marketer.
Every single decision, from the copy on a page to the image for a post and the colors of a button, needs reliable information.
Unfortunately, though, using fake followers and fake engagement will automatically skew your marketing tests and results.
And you won’t be able to make informed decisions about future marketing tactics because you haven’t learned from the past.
You could, for instance, post a remarkable piece of content that seems unremarkable because of your massive amount of fake followers.
Or, on the other hand, you could post a terrible piece of content that receives skewed results because of all the engagement you paid for.
The point is that you can’t get real results with fake followers.
And let’s be honest. Determining your ROI is difficult enough.
In fact, in terms of proving your ROI, marketers rate social revenue as the most difficult to measure.
And that only becomes more difficult if you muddy your results with fake followers.
In order to iterate your strategy, you need real, tangible results for your engagement, traffic, and conversion tests.
But fake followers will keep you from seeing your honest results. So trust me: you don’t want fake followers.
The most important objective for a marketing data strategy, in fact, is to improve the quality of the data.
Sadly, that’s also the biggest challenge for marketers and data analysts.
Do you want clear and reliable data?
Then don’t buy fake followers.
Fake followers will not only confuse your results, but they will also confuse you about which content is performing well and which isn’t.
And it will be all the more confusing if you spend the extra money for fake engagement.
Although it’s tempting, you would be far better off spending your money on analyzing which content performs well with real people who can actually buy your products and drive your revenue.
5. Fake followers simply aren’t as effective as real followers
The harsh reality is that all of those fake followers you did or didn’t buy aren’t going to help you.
I know that the landing page promised it would, and I know that they promised that no one would be able to tell the difference between real and fake followers on your account.
But they lied.
And you’re smart enough to know that.
When you buy fake followers, it’s unlikely that those followers will benefit your business nearly as much as taking the time to build a genuine and organic following on social media.
The study from AdEspresso that I mentioned earlier found this out.
With the regular methods, their follower growth looked like this.
And with the bot method, it looked like this.
The difference is clear and compelling.
Organic followers quickly turn into more followers.
Fake followers don’t because they can’t.
They don’t have friends that they can tell about your business.
And when real people discover them, your fake followers do nothing but hurt your reputation rather than help it.
That’s not just true for follower growth, though. It’s also true for the number of visits that AdEspresso saw to their website.
Here were their results with the regular method.
And here were the results with the bot method.
And they saw the same trend in terms of actual conversions.
But that isn’t really that surprising.
Fake followers, after all, can’t buy from you. But real followers can, and they will.
Here were their results for the regular methods of building a following.
And again, here are the results for the bot method.
Clearly, growing your following the good, old-fashioned way is far more effective than buying your followers.
And though many people promise that the fake method will work, it won’t.
How to remove fake followers
OK, so you made a mistake. You realize now that you shouldn’t have bought fake followers.
That’s OK, though. Everyone makes mistakes.
But now that you realize how harmful those fakers can be, you’ll hopefully want to remove them as quickly as possible.
And fortunately, doing so is quite simple.
Here are a few tools you can use.
You can use Fake Followers Check.
Or you can try Twitter Audit.
And lastly, you can use IGExorcist.
Once you delete your fake followers, you’ll be ready to start building an organic following that will actually pay you back without any of the risks.
Trust me: building your following organically will be well worth your time and money.
At least, I can confidently say that it will be far more worthwhile than buying fake followers would be.
I get it.
Buying fake followers is tempting.
Each shady website that wants your money in return for fake accounts has compelling sales copy.
They tell you that there’s no risk involved. They say that they found a way around the platform’s policies and that no one ever gets caught.
They are, as you now know, lying.
After all, they want you to buy, and they’ll lie to you to get you to do so.
Yes, they will build your following. But if the platform catches you and punishes you, or if you hurt your business reputation, these shady sites are definitely not going to give you a refund.
Organic followers, on the other hand, involve no risk and can actually pay you real money.
That is the way to grow your business.
Because you definitely don’t want to violate the platforms’ policies, create a discrepancy between your follower count and engagement rate, hurt your business reputation, or destroy any data that you have.
To avoid these consequences, simply post remarkable content. If you do, you’ll build a following over time.
I promise. Just keep up with it and, in the end, you’ll be glad you didn’t give money to a shady website with even shadier results.
Why do you think you should delete fake followers?
The post Here’s Why You Ought to Delete Fake Followers appeared first on Neil Patel.