Beware: Buying ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ doesn’t work if you are boring

This is a blog I recently wrote for my new employer @captovate

I wrote it in response to this article that appeared in The Age by Ben Grubb about Matthew Carpenter from I have no issue with Carpenter – he’s entitled to create this service if there’s a market for it. However, I think unsuspecting businesses should be aware of the consequences of ‘quick and easy’ ways to build communities.

Beware: Buying ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ doesn’t work if you are boring

You may have noticed a fair amount of media coverage on the subject of companies selling ‘likes’ on Facebook or ‘followers’ on Twitter recently – providers of these services charge very little for brands and individuals to grow their popularity, sometimes in the tens and hundreds of thousands.

If you’re a small business wanting to break big, this is extremely compelling. Extremely tempting. But, unfortunately, useless.

Paying for ‘likes’ is essentially going to a party and giving everyone in the room $50 to be your friend. Sure, they’ll talk to you then and there, but if they don’t know you or think you’re a boring conversationalist, they’ll ditch you when the money runs out.

Sure, there’s the outward appearance of looking like the most popular person in the room, but even if those ‘likes’ or ‘followers’ are real people (and it’s arguable they are) you’ll be exposed if your content (posts, tweets etc) are rubbish or non-existent. In other words, if your not offering value you devalue your social media presence.

Real friends are friends for a reason – they genuinely want to spend time with you. Friends invest their time with you because of the conversations you have, actual shared interests and ideas. This is no different in business. To buy your friends and followers means you’ve missed the point of social media (or you’re cutting corners).

And if you’re a marketer or social media manager, and you’ve done this for your client, you’re just lazy. Why? You’re breaking the fundamentals of building communities: Trust, conversation and value.

Flooding your social networks with ghost followers, you’re breaking the trust of those who have legitimately followed you, and those who want to (whose trust you haven’t invested time gaining).

Flooding your networks with ghost ‘likes’ will be exposed if you scroll down and find no-one posting or conversing on your page. And if, after all of that, people still come your page, they’ll leave pretty quickly if you have no content of value.

There have been plenty of online snake oil salesman in the past, exploiting trends when they become popular, then unloading on an unsuspecting crowd. The problem is that whenever a solution arises that doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.

In this case, nothing can substitute real ‘likes’ on Facebook, real ‘followers’ or real friends.

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