How Buying Likes + Followers REALLY Affects Your Growth
Let me confess something to you.
I am so passionate about this topic because when I first started blogging, I wanted to make it big like all the others. I went out and bought outfits I didn’t have the money for. I signed up for the “get free followers” accounts; I even bought some followers. I felt happy when I saw my likes go from 60 to 200 in one day! I thought it was really working.
But in all honesty, I didn’t know what I was doing. I had zero vision for my blog and brand other than “get likes and followers”. In truth, this slowed me down! I was so happy to see my like and follower count go up that I wasn’t truly focused on the hard work I needed to put in to figure out the details, like “what is my mission?” “Who am I speaking to?” “What am I selling that people want?” “Am I a person I would enjoy following?”
I only bought into the fake followers and likes for about 2 weeks before I felt disgusted with myself. At that point, I started buckling down on being genuine. I didn’t want to just be another blogger, heck, there’s hundreds of thousands of bloggers selling something. I wanted to figure out how to truly stand out and succeed in the blogging world! I wanted to work so hard that I could quit my 9-5 and support myself blogging.
FAST FORWARD TO LAST NIGHT.
My husband Tim and I were talking about blogging and he asked me,
“Why don’t you just buy likes and followers like everyone else? You’ll grow faster and get to collaborate with bigger brands.”
I think he was moreso throwing an idea out there than actually expecting a full-on, detailed explanation of why I don’t just follow the fast-track like a lot of other bloggers. If you’re an influencer who has been busting butt, you’re probably just as frustrated at this question as I was initially, but as I thought more about it, I felt that this was a topic I needed to address. Because the more I thought about it, I started to wonder and toy with the idea to really figure out why I’m against it.
So what’s the answer? Why don’t I just buy likes + follows to land bigger brand collaborations?
Personally, I value genuine and authentic relationships with my followers. I want to actually build a relationship with you - not just sell something and get likes and follows. That being said, buying likes and follows means a large portion of my following comes from miscellaneous accounts, whether real or fake, of people who didn’t really follow me because they’re interested in my content - they followed me because they’re also buying likes and followers (that’s how it works, you sell your account and in turn, follow random accounts to get other random accounts to follow you).
Moreover, it’s deceptive to my present followers and my tribe. I’m not interested in having thousands of fake followers mixed in with 300 real followers. I’d rather just focus on the 300 I have and talk to them.
Fake Engagement = False Projection of Growth
Another reason I’m against buying likes and followers is because it blinds you to see how you’re really doing. You may think you’re doing well because you get 300 comments, but then you might post a really vulnerable post and get comments like “cute!” and you’re shaking your head wondering if they even read your post.
Newsflash - they didn’t.
Because they’re not real.
That can be really disheartening. Buying likes, followers, and comments just gives the appearance of growth, when in reality - you haven’t grown at all!
Brands Know When You Have Fake Followers
Something important to know is that Social Media is HUGE. It is T H E platform for marketing. Newspaper ads are old news. Everyone is using social media.
That being said, companies have entire TEAMS dedicated to manage “social media influencer relationships.” This is a team of experts. They don’t just hop on the world-wide-web, find a rando-blogger and pay them the big bucks to sell a product.
They research. They look at your following. They look at your engagement. They look at your like count. They look at the quality of content you’re posting.
If they see a social media account with 10k followers but their feed is filled with low-quality, directionless posts, that’s a big indicator right off the bat. Diving deeper, checking out your individual posts, if you have 5k likes and 3k comments on a post that isn’t phenomenal - it’s obvious.
Instagram engagement isn’t THAT easy. Even bloggers with 100K followers don’t get that many likes and comments on every post! If you’re “engagement” rate is higher than 15%, it’s pretty questionable. That’s not to say that you can’t be genuine and have a high engagement count, and if you do, then tell me your secret! Because realistically, we influencers can create beautiful content daily, and sometimes, the posts we think will do best with our followers will FLOP.
That’s normal. It’s normal to see hundreds of likes on one post and just barely 100 on the next. That’s just the normal flow of social media.
That being said, it’s an instant giveaway when these brands research an influencer and see thousands of likes and comments on every single post. Especially when the comments are:
or any other combination of emojis. I’m sure some of them are real, and brands know that too but when 99% of your comments consist of one-worders, it’s a big indicator to brands that you have no real influence with your audience.
No influence with your followers = NO RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
Brands will not spend a dime on you if they think it’s not worth it, and can you blame them? If they don’t think they’ll get anything in return, why would they waste time sending free products and sending money?
But It’s Easier to Land Big-Brand Collaborations If They See You Have Thousands of Followers, Right?
So let’s say hypothetically, a big-name-brand company wants to collaborate with you and they didn’t catch that you have fake followers and likes. You won, right?
Well not really….
Brands track progress and sales. You can’t sell a product to fake followers. So if a brand gives you $3000 and says “we want you to post photos of our lipstick”, and you post photos and get hundreds of likes from fake followers, guess who is buying the lipstick you’re selling? Absolutely no-one.
Brands keep track of that! If the collaboration is a flop, you don’t want to use it in your media-kit - that’s like including a job you got fired from on a resume; doesn’t really put your best foot forward.
If you’re collaborations aren’t bringing any real money to brands, 1. they won’t want to work with you again, and 2. You won’t be able to pitch yourself well to the next brand you want to work with. Sure, you could lie and say it was a huge success, but if you fail with them too, it’s going to be the same thing. Wasted time for them, and the relationship with them will be cut off. How many brands do you expect to run dry while trying to build your blogging business?
Fake followers and faking-success on collaborations may be instant money in your pocket, but as far as long term, sustainable growth - there’s nothing there.
So let’s say hypothetically, you don’t care. You want fast growth, and you don’t care that it’s disingenuous. You still shouldn’t buy followers, and here’s why:
Hypothetically, let’s just toy with the idea that we don’t care about ethics, being genuine, or building lasting partnerships with brands. We fake our follower count, we land big collaborations and get paid to do it whether or not the collab is a success!
Here’s why I still don’t believe in buying followers: Because the goal is to build your business PAST collaborations. Yes, brand deals are fantastic - and they’re a quick way to get some cash. And when they succeed and you can use them in your media kit to land even bigger collaborations and that’s the best feeling in the world!
But what happens when influencer-partnerships are a thing of the past? How will you make money in 20-30 years from now?
………. ……….. ………..
You won’t. If you want to build a lasting business, you need a loyal following. In order to get a loyal following, you can’t be buying fake followers and likes! Why? Because eventually, you want to sell something; whether you start your own clothing line, open a fresh fruit juice store, sell a book, or need donations to go on missions, you won’t be able to get your followers to back you if the majority of your followers are fake.
So girl, don’t even think about giving in and buying those followers and likes. It’s a waste of your money… Who needs ‘em anyway? You don’t need followers to know that you are valuable and capable of WINNING.
Do like Drake says,
“I still ride with my day one *friends, I don't really need
No new friends, no new friends, no new friends, no, no new friends.”
[He uses another word but I’m trying to keep this rated G (LOL)]