Although I'm definitely against buying fake social media followers and feel it's both a bad personal and professional move, I feel obligated to share this bit of evidence in support of buying Twitter followers in limited amounts. It's only one case but its key point is that buying fake followers can give your organic following a boost if you keep prudent limits on what you buy.
I'm Against Buying Fake Followers But It Seems To Work Sometimes
My stance against buying a fake social media following is pretty clear. But it's also partly been based on the belief that doing so can set you up for an eventual painful drop and/or expose you to ridicule.
The reality is that those getting exposed are typically overdoing their buys of followers. Suddenly they have hundreds of thousands or even millions of new followers or media views/listens prompting closer examination in some cases. That can lead to fakery being exposed and the false assumption that fakes will usually fail.
But cheating works. Payola worked and may be working today. People cheat the charts because they can kickstart careers that way.
So, as much as I hate to admit it, fakery can win the day or, in the case of one data scientist, significantly boost one's Twitter following.
A Positive Account of Buying Fake Twitter Followers
Gilad Lotan is a data scientist at betaworks. He gives an interesting and reasonably detailed account of buying fake Twitter followers and what happened in the process.
My only quibble is that he assumes that the paid followers that are following him are only following other accounts that paid to be followed. It's likely that just as Facebook fakes are following legitimate accounts to look legitimate, so too would Twitter fakes.
That said it's a nice article that's well worth a read. But here's the key point. He boosted his organic Twitter following and he's now solidly ahead of where he began. After buying followers:
"My Klout score almost instantly shot up. I was not impressed by that until I realized that Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, collaborates with Klout, so that a higher Klout score put me higher on Bing’s search results."
"Over time, I also started seeing an increase in the number of my actual followers. This could be due to the fact that Twitter started pushing out more notifications to their users. It could also be a factor of perceived credibility. When a stranger viewed my profile now, my large number of followers made me look more credible."
"After a few months, some of my fake followers began disappearing. But my total number of followers has continued to grow. In a way, what I did was optimize my social media account. Perhaps acquiring that chunk of followers gave me enough of a bump to seed organic growth. "
When he bought the followers, Lotan decided to buy only 4000, so his followership leapt from 2600 to 6600.
Today, though he says he lost some of the fake followers, he has 13.3k Twitter followers, a little over twice what he had after initially buying followers.
So it looks like it was a productive boost.
In the end, I'm in a similar spot as Lotan:
"I’m not recommending anyone go out and buy followers. In fact, I can’t get over the feeling that it’s pretty sleazy. But I do believe that acquiring just the right amount, as much as I hate to write it, may have a positive long-term effect on acceleration of growth and visibility."
[Thumbnail image via Fiverr.]
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