Popularity Is Not a Social Media Strategy
There’s no doubt that the number of likes and followers you have on social media can create a great first impression. In the quest to build social media presence, there is the temptation to buy followers or likes. Why not do it if lends you some social media cred?
You might be surprised how many people have done so. What’s the harm in buying followers or likes? Plenty of people boost Facebook posts or use paid advertising to garner more likes on their Facebook page. The two however, are not the same. More on that later on in this post.
If you are going to buy likes or followers, the question that you really have to ask yourself is what you are really getting in return? Are these real followers, i.e. people who in real life would be the type to like and engage with your content, or are they fake accounts or bots? So what you say? What does it matter if it’s adding to the bottom line and establishing your social media presence?
Let’s look into this a little further.
You might succeed at the numbers game initially, on the surface, but this doesn’t guarantee a lasting presence. What good is it to have lots of followers if you are not actually getting any business from them or getting connected with people who are interested in your content, services or products?
People can see through this when they look at the level engagement and types of comments you are getting on your posts.
How can you tell?
Take Instagram for example. On Instagram, a normal rate of engagement would be around 3-5% of an account’s followers liking each post. The higher the number of followers one has (e.g. in the tens of thousands), the harder it is to maintain this level of engagement. Try it out the next time you look at some random Instagram account. Just look at how many likes the average post on an Instagram account is getting and do the math. Like i said, if posts are getting likes that are less than 3-5% of the account’s following, then I’d say that something is up. It could mean that the account has some fake or purchased followers or at the very least that the content being posted really doesn’t resonate with that account’s following.
Still wondering what’s the harm in purchasing likes or followers?
I’ve got two words for you.
When Facebook decides who to deliver your content to, it takes into account the the types of people that have liked or are following you already. Based on who’s liked your page, Facebook will continue to deliver your content to them and others users that are similar to the ones already following you. If a significant number of your followers are bought and not the types of people in real life who’d be interested in your content, services or products, you can now see how this could be a problem when Facebook continues to deliver your content to your existing followers, or others like them (i.e. with similar characteristics, traits or demographics). That’s how your followers could affect your visibility and reach on Facebook.
Social media is not just a popularity contest. Don’t be short-sighted and focus too much on the surface of it. The foundation of a sound social media presence that creates impact is content. You many have heard the phrase “Content is king.”
Good content is what is going to win you dedicated fans. I’d argue that it’s better to have a small but highly engaged following that is willing to buy from you, that loves and shares your content, and who are likely to be your ambassadors by telling others about you and how much they love your content.
Who cares if your social media presence doesn’t look weighty, if you are reaching your customer/audience and doing business. If that’s the case for you, does it matter whether you have hundreds or thousands of followers? And really, does having a ton of followers or likes really bring your more business? It’s really the other way around. If you are building your business and serving your audience/customers, then you social media presence will grow.
Now what about paid advertising or boosting a Facebook post?
As I said before, doing paid advertising to get your content in front of your target audience, is not the same as buying followers or likes. With paid posts there should be a sound strategy behind the advertising campaign. You need to be clear on who your audience is or use advertising to figure out who your audience/customers/fans are. A good strategy to follow is to make sure that your content, whether delivered by paid advertising or organic reach, offers something of value. Create something unique, that represents your brand, and is shareable. Shareable content will go far to new reach followers and grow your influence as people share it with others.
I can’t stress enough that the quality of your content is key to building your brand and influence. With paid advertising it has to be done right. If you share generic, meaningless content, you may find yourself stuck in the loop of needing to paying to get engagement on your posts.
Having said all this, before you even consider any of the tactics above to grow your social media presence, the first thing you need to consider is the purpose behind why you are doing all this, what are you trying to accomplish, who is your audience and how will you serve them, and what you will do with all of the influence you build. That sounds like a topic for an entirely new blog post, maybe.