Social Media Etiquette: Don’t Buy Twitter Followers

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Feb 26, 2016
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Whale don't buy twitter followers

Are social media sites crucial to stay in touch with customers? Yes, they are. Do they help us with promoting our brand? Yes, they do. Do they help us with selling our products off? Uhm… Not really.

Many people think that once they’ll create a Twitter account, buy ads and tweet something juicy, people will kill for their product. Unfortunately, Twitter itself will not magically make people to buy your products, that’s not how it works.

This is how the magic lamp works.

Twitter translates into great customer engagement. You tweet with other people, retweet their links and opinions, spread the word about your brand, gather customers’ feedback (and spy on your competition).

You build customer loyalty and authority.

And then, when people know you and know that they can trust you, they might buy your products.

However, to make that magic happen, you have to have followers and many people think that if they’ll buy fake followers, Twitter magic will start to work.

In this post, I am going to explain why this way of thinking is wrong and why buying followers is the worst idea that you could possibly have.

Why people buy Twitter followers

There is only one reason why you could consider buying followers: having thousands of them makes you look like a boss.

The rule is simple: the more followers you have, the more people will believe that you’re a well known authority and will more likely trust you and follow you!

This mechanism might sound silly, but this is the way that can be observed in the society as well. Look at it this way: even when we were kids, we thought that those girls and boys who had many friends were way cooler than the others, right?

Social media is like that kids’ playground.

It’s very easy to buy fake followers. For example, I’ve just googled “buy twitter followers” and came across Intertwitter. Here’s their offer:

Fake twitter followers buying offer

10 bucks for 1000 Twitter followers sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?

But the truth is that this practice can seriously harm your business and your good name.

Don’t. Just don’t.

Here are three reasons why you should not buy fake fame.

1. Those who are Twitter experts will find out that your followers are fake

If someone will take a quick glance on your account and will see that you have only a couple of tweets and hundreds of followers… Well, it puts you in bad light.

And if your followers are of a “bad quality” (half-naked women, anonymous accounts or celebrities), they will know what kind of “authority” you are.

A fake one!

Here’s how Stephanie Schwab, CEO of Crackerjack Marketing, explained this mechanism in B2B News Network:

"I once consulted with an advertising agency that was hoping to open their own social media department. The future head of that department had tens of thousands of Twitter followers, and the agency team thought he would look like a major expert because of his Twitter following. A quick glance at his account showed that he had only tweeted a handful of times, and that his followers were all of terrible quality – eggs, 16-year-old girls, or non-English speakers. His Twitter account made him look like the opposite of an expert! We recommended that he close his account and start over, properly, which he did."


Another way of telling if someone has fake following is low following-follower ratio. Unless you’re Steven King, it is unlikely that you follow hundreds and have thousands followers!

Twitter followers numbers

So, as long as you’re not a public person and yet you have so many followers, they’re probably a fake ones.

2. Bought followers will attract Big Brother’s eye

Buying followers not only damages your professional credibility - there is another danger as well: someone might notice that something suspicious is happening with your account.

Twitter monitors inactive and suspicious accounts and eliminates them after 3 or 4 months. It means that if you have many fake followers, their quantity will drastically decrease at some point.

It will make your account look suspicious as well, because of that, Twitter might turn its eye on you and suspend your account.

3. These followers will never become your customers

The point of having a social media accounts is something that business owners often forget about.

They create Twitter or Facebook accounts and are so excited about growing them that they forget that they’ve opened these channels to gain new customers and to be closer to the current ones.

So what will happen if you buy fake followers? Only bad things.

These followers won’t buy anything from you. They won’t even retweet or like your posts. You will stuff someone’s pocket and you will get nothing in return.

This is what Agnieszka, our social media expert, summarizes it:

I can understand the reason why people are buying fans, but it doesn't make any sense for longer period of time. Bought followers are nothing more than just numbers. They don't care about your company, they will not become your customers. In social media you shouldn’t think about the numbers, you should think about the result.

How many fake followers do you have?

Those who don’t like to judge without hard evidence can use a very simple application like Twitteraudit or a Fake Followers Check in order to check how trustful are other people accounts.

These applications will help you check your (or someone else’s) followers quality score and in many cases they will allow you to tell if someone have bought their followers or if they are the honest ones.

Below, you can see an example of analysis done with the use of Fake Followers Check. I’ve decided to x-ray Justin Bieber’s account and the result has exceeded my expectations!

From 75,500,000 Bieber followers 3,775,000 are fake ones and over 58,000,000 of them are inactive.

Justin bieber faker scores

I have also checked how Twitteraudit works and it works just fine! Here are the results for Bill Gates’ account:

Twitter audit report bill gates

After all, I don’t have to feel that bad with my own Twitter account!

Twitter audit report

One could ask why such audit score could be important for anyone and the answer is simple: high audit score translates into high credibility.

Build credibility and good reputation of your brand

If you want for your account to look more credible, you should consider cleaning it up a bit.

You should start with filling in your bio details. I may sound like Captain Obvious, but I often see accounts with only a picture and no bio description. And I never ever follow such accounts.

Why would I? I keep my Twitter feed neat, mostly business and marketing related information, from time to time - art. I don’t need to follow random people that will post about Kayne West sneakers or about “insanely hot girls”.

Next step, is to unfollow inactive accounts. I found a very nice online app, Untweeps, that helps you to find and unfollow people that did not tweet anything for a month for an instance.

All you need to do is to sign in with your Twitter account and click on “List Stale Accounts”.

Untweeps screenshot

As a result, you’ll be given a list of accounts that were inactive for that period of time and you’ll be able to choose which of them you’d like to unfollow.

Next step is important for those who care about the quality of their engagements: unfollow irrelevant accounts. This method is simple, however, it might be time-consuming. Check the people you follow and decide whether you want to follow them or not.

If you’re working in an IT industry, you’d probably want to get tweets (and retweets) from people that are IT experts so you might want to unfollow such accounts as you can see below:

Twitter eggs

Get real followers naturally

The process of gaining followers is long and laborious. You need to Tweet regularly, make sure that you share first-class content and engage with your followers. It sounds like a serious job and for many Twitter users it might be discouraging, but believe me, it’s worth it.

There are 289,000,000 registered active Twitter users, and that is definitely a great potential worth your time!

If you properly conduct yourself as a helpful and relevant source of information, you can grow your company to new heights and bring in numerous followers which, in effect, will produce significant income.

- Vanessa Doctor,

So, if you want your profile to look awesome and attract fans like a magnet, don't buy Twitter followers. You need to be patient. Build your authority one day at a time and remember the main social media rule.

If you want people to trust you, you cannot cheat.

We also covered live chat best practices in this post about live chat etiquette.

Cover photo courtesy of Yiying Lu.

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