Were you one of the people who downloaded the app InstLike? There were over 100,000 people that did, so don’t worry, you weren’t the only one who fell for this scam.
For the fortunate ones that don’t know what I am talking about, InstLike was an app that promised you more likes and followers on Instagram. All you had to do was give them your username and password. The app would start following random people and liking random photos. Also, the user would start with 20 virtual coins to use to purchase more followers or likes. You could use one coin for one like or 10 coins to add a follower. If you referred a friend, you could get 50 additional coins, which is why this app spread so quickly.
So what’s wrong with buying followers?
There is a common misconception about social media that the more followers and fans you have the more successful your company is, but that’s not the case. I’ll admit it: buying fans online can seem enticing. Adding 50,000 followers can stroke your ego for a bit…but then what? You might have 50,000 followers, but they won’t engage with your content. Those followers are not bound to any contract to follow you forever and after awhile they will hit the unfollow button. Over time, those 50,000 will start dwindling down. Quality fans that engage with you are much more valuable than thousands of followers you buy, which in most cases are out of the country.
It’s fairly easy to tell when a Facebook page has been buying likes. First, click on their likes box that shows the number of fans, where you will get an insight into who the fans are. An important piece of information you will find is the city that the page is most popular in. If it is a local business, it should be in that city. If the business did in fact buy likes, the city in which they are most popular won’t be the same as their physical location, which doesn’t do anyone any good.
What can you do instead?
If you’re willing to spend money to buy fans and followers, why not use that money to run a Facebook or Twitter ad? You can promote your page or posts to your ideal audience, which in turn can gain you fans and followers that will actually benefit your business. For example, if you are a local flower shop, promote a post about flower arrangements to people in your city that are interested in weddings or special events. By doing so, you might gain fans that are interested in purchasing your product, engaging with your page and spreading the word about your company to their immediate circle.
If you want to increase your following without spending any money, you need to commit to spending some time working with your pages. Be active in your social community, commenting and sharing content from other people and businesses. In turn, these people and businesses will likely support you. Engagement is the key to increasing your online following! Remember: social media success is not overnight, it takes time and effort to build your online network.
Utilize your email list. Let your fans know that you’re on social media via an email blast and give them the links to follow and like your company. Chances are if they get your email, they’ll want to follow you online. Let your email base know that you’ll be offering specials sales, discounts and insider info through your social networks so that they have a reason to follow you. According to an infographic by KISSmetrics, by a margin of 64%, users are more likely to buy from brands they follow on Twitter.
If you only take one thing away from this blog it’s that you should be wary of any third party company asking for your password. The one thing I was told the first time I created an online profile was to never give out your password and that’s never been truer in this day in age.