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5 reasons you can’t buy your friends on social media

While it might seem tempting to pay for some new friends, it's not worth it. 


Elizabeth Fein


Posted on Sep 11, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 2:55 pm CDT

Managing social media is very time consuming. For me, it encompasses copy, low-level graphic design, photography, story-telling, and navigating relationships with hundreds of people. I love it, but it can be exhausting. When I spend a lot of time on content and it flops, this little devil on my shoulder tells me to just buy likes. I could also just buy followers. It would be so easy and I could feel popular for a fleeting moment. It would make my failure a success right? Wrong! Next time you get that urge, don’t do it. Here’s why.

1) You won’t grow or learn from your mistakes

Followers are honest. They don’t like things they don’t like (most of the time). You may want 100 likes on a picture, but 100 people may not actually like your picture. If you buy likes, you are robbing yourself of a learning opportunity and ignoring what your followers are telling you. If you listen, you will grow and your content will get better. You may say to yourself: “People are more willing to like something if it has 100 likes!” It’s true. You might get some people jumping on the bandwagon, but I have never wanted to be a wagon driver. Have you?

2) Fake data are bad data

Bought numbers have no value. We can’t run analysis or give accurate reports to clients if fake followers/likes are muddling up data sets. Being able to help clients see successes and failures through numbers is something we pride ourselves on.

3) It’s dishonest

If you want people to like you, be a likable person. When I see people on Twitter like Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz) and Marji J. Sherman (@MarjiJSherman), who have a ton of followers, I ask myself: “Why?” If you interact with either of them, you will quickly find out why. They are nice people. They are honest, positive, and consistently engage with followers. Cultivate honest relationships and you will build a community you can be proud of.

4) It’s lazy

It takes time to get to know your audience and learn what they want from you. Iterate is a new company and we are still experimenting with content. I have to spend a good chunk of time every couple of days listening to my followers through analytics. It’s work, but it pays off. Be active and engaged on your social media platforms. Using Brian as an example again: he works hard. Check out his post about Twitter chats. His chat schedule is insane. If you want that kind of following, you need to have that kind of engagement.

5) It’s obvious

Maybe the casual social media user won’t notice the followers you bought, but most people will. Fake followers have strange names, a small amount of content on their account, and they never engage with you. It reminds me of Lars and the Real Girl. They are there to make you feel better, but they don’t actually add value to your life. They just sit there pretending to be something they are not.

So next time that little devil pops up on your shoulder, make sure to shake him off. Put in the work and you will get to where you want to be.

This post originally appeared on Medium and was reposted with permission.

Photo via Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Sep 11, 2014, 10:00 am CDT