Growing your B2B social media accounts can be tough. Breaking through the noise and getting your posts seen isn’t easy, and the increasing importance of social media is only turning up the pressure. Because of this, more and more companies are purchasing computer-generated bot followers to artificially grow their accounts and make it seem like they are more popular than they really are.
The thought of quickly turning your brand into a social media powerhouse by buying followers can be tempting. But that is not how it works and it’s just lazy social media. This inorganic method of growing your B2B social media accounts can actually do more harm than whatever benefit the initial boost of followers gets you. There is no substitute for a B2B social media strategy that grows an organic and genuine community of followers.
Skewing Your Analytics
Let’s pretend that you’ve purchased 10,000 “followers” and have grown your account tenfold overnight. It might look good on paper, but when it comes time to calculate analytics like engagement rate or impressions per post, your data will be incorrect.
These fake bot accounts will not interact with your content. They will not retweet you, like your photos, or share your posts. So the more fake accounts that follow you, the worse your engagement rate will be — along with other analytics that are calculated similarly.
This will also affect how your posts appear on newsfeeds. Social media platforms are continuing to move away from chronological timelines and more towards targeted, top content. That means low engagement rates will move your posts to the bottom of newsfeeds.
People Can Tell
Unless you’re new to social media, it is fairly easy to spot when a company has bought followers. This can hurt your B2B social media and, depending on how your audience views it morally, it could end up discrediting your brand.
There are social media tools out there that are making it even easier to spot fake followers. However, a quick scan of a company’s page or timeline can give you a good idea. Does the engagement not match the followers? Do a majority of their followers not post their own content and have their own following? Did your competitor just gain 10,000 followers overnight? If you answered yes to any of those, something is fishy.
If it’s that easy to tell, it is not worth risking your reputation. And honestly, it just looks desperate.
They Don’t Last…and Your Account Might Not Either
The quick boost in your follower count may only be temporary. The companies that make and sell these bot accounts follow thousands of other accounts and are often reported, removed, and banned. The money you spent will go to waste as your follower count starts to dwindle over time.
Buying followers, likes, or any sort of engagement also goes against the terms and conditions of most major social media platforms. These companies have strong policies against fake followers and will actively delete or ban accounts that use services to buy them.
For example, Twitter’s Terms & Conditions state,
“Twitter strictly prohibits the purchasing and selling of account interactions on our platform. When you purchase followers, Retweets and likes, you are often purchasing bot (fake) or hacked accounts. Any account caught participating in this behavior will be in violation of the Twitter Rules and may be suspended.”
Violating these policies puts your brand and company at risk of never being able to use these major marketing channels again.
Building a follower base on any platform is hard work. It takes months and possibly years of dedication to posting quality content on a consistent basis. However, a well-thought-out strategy or assistance from B2B social media experts can ease this process and help grow your followers organically — with genuine interaction between your company and your audience.
Mitch Mathern is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b. Mitch graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Marketing. When not at the office, Mitch enjoys spending time at the beach with his surfboard, or binging on the latest season of Vampire Diaries.