Why Buying Twitter Followers is a Terrible Idea

By on January 18, 2011
twitter_followers

Over the last year or two marketers have been offering businesses the chance to ‘buy Twitter followers and increase your popularity.’ It’s an attractive offer for businesses or people who want to look like they spend quality time on their Twitter strategy, but actually don’t.

Buy Twitter Followers

Courtesy of gordonmurray.com

The ‘instant’ community is making its way around the internet, and it’s instantly ruining Twitter marketing for the people who fall into its trap.

First of all Twitter, like most social media, is supposed to be about making genuine connections – over time. By nurturing and stimulating this community they eventually become buying customers.

When a marketer wants to take a short cut, and buy their community – tragedy strikes. We’ve said it a thousand times – Twitter is not about how many followers you have. It’s about how many you interact with!

Buying a community might make you look popular on the surface – but here’s where it all goes horribly wrong.


The Marketing Trap

When you begin a well thought out Twitter marketing campaign, one of the first things you need to do it find an audience, or people who are going to like your Tweets.

You also need to find people with real interests that aren’t out to sell anything like you are. When you spend $3000.00 on 100 000 Twitter followers, you have ZERO control over who they are or if they were ever interested in your market.

The result is of course, maybe 100 people that are genuinely interested in speaking to you, or buying the products you are selling. The rest become an expensive banner to the world saying “I’m popular.” Unfortunately even this veil is wearing thin, as more and more people realize that most large communities have been bought.


The Reason Twitter Exists

Forget for a second that you’re a business person looking to make money off Twitter. Imagine that the only reason you use Twitter is to meet new people and discuss fun things, while following feeds that you are truly interested in.

According to some very revealing data, these people are in the minority. More Twitter users are businesses just like you, looking to build their brand power and make sales.

Twitter exists for the people who use it for fun. They are the most interactive, and take the time to comment, reply and re-tweet what you’re trying to say.

If you don’t use keyword searches to find the few that honestly enjoy your market – then you might as well carpet your 100 000 bought followers with spammy nonsense like everyone else. See how much money you make with this strategy in play.

A smaller community of people you know is worth more than thousands of random people you don’t know. Don’t be lured into the ‘instant community’ trap. They are not your community, they’re random people. Spend real time building your followers on Twitter for the best results. Buying your followers is a terrible idea – don’t do it!

Have you bought Twitter followers?
What are your experiences with your instant community?
Tell us below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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