People put a lot of pride in the number of followers they have on social media. In some circles I would even say it determines your worth. Some think of it as the value of you or your personality (in actuality, it is how good your feed is at being eye candy. Whether that is sexiness, foodiness, happiness, silliness, cleverness, or a combination of a few). Having a lot of followers may look good on the outside, but it does not show anything about the inside or the real value of a business.
1000 followers on Instagram go for about $10 these days. Didn't know you could buy followers? Yup. Want 10,000 followers? Shell out $100 and you're there! Easy as that, you're a popular person or business. Right? Well, not exactly... The bigger question is who are these 10,000 followers? They are zombie accounts that have been taken over by bots and accounts started by the people selling the followers but who have never posted or liked anything. I am not making this up. There are such things as bots and zombie accounts.
A bot is "an autonomous program on a network (especially the Internet) that can interact with computer systems or users" (Source: Google Dictionary). Bots can buy concert tickets, shoes, food, post on Twitter, like accounts or comment on Instagram, and can control Instagram accounts. You have probably interacted with a bot at some point in the last month and never knew it or they stood out like a sore thumb (weird comments, lots of likes at once, etc). They serve a purpose, in some minds, and are an annoying consequence of the "immediate gratification" society we find ourselves in. When you buy 1000 followers you are paying someone to unleash one of their bots to get 1000 accounts to follow you. Kids buy followers to feel better about themselves and to look popular. Businesses and brands buy followers for the same reason.
A zombie account is an account that has been dormant for a certain amount of time and is controlled by a bot or the person who unleashes bots. The account could have been created with the intent of being a zombie account or was created by someone who forgot about it or abandoned it on purpose but never deleted it and the account was then hacked into by the people who have the bots.
Where is this all going? We, as a company, pride ourselves on making sure social media adds value to our clients' bottom lines and are actually worth the money and time spent posting and interacting with followers. One metric we strive to maximize is the like to follower ratio. We would like our clients to be at 10% or higher. Meaning, if you have 1000 followers, we strive to have at least 100 people like each post, on average. A low like to follower ratio means that your followers are not engaged and do not find your business and/or your content relevant. We have seen businesses, even other ad agencies, who have a high number of followers but a very low like to follower ratio. This leads to the conclusion that their followers were either artificially obtained via bots or are real people but are not engaged with the business. Either way, it is not good for the company. The other issue that a lot of businesses who buy followers fail to see is that Facebook and Instagram will throttle down your paid AND organic reach if they feel that you bought followers.
Take our client Range Kitchen & Tap. We have managed their social media for a year and have grown their Instagram following from 0 to 728 and their Facebook following to 581. Low, by some standards. Especially given the fact that they have 20,000 hits on Google each month (half see Range in the search results, the other half see Range on Google Maps), 3000+ unique website visitors per month, a 35% bounce rate, and the social media ads we run for them on Facebook attract thousands of views per month. And if you look at their like to follower ratio we are averaging over 10% which is five times as high as the average for Facebook (they changed their algorithms at the start of 2018 and organic interactions fell off a cliff and averages 2% now!). We are deliberate with their ad budget and use it to drive people to their site, rather than grow their following (who is going to like a business on Facebook that they have not visited?). The goal is to get people in the door, not just "like" pictures. While followers are important, having real people come in and try your product and leave a review is crucial. Range has 109 Google reviews with a 4.2 rating, out of 5 (they have many more on Yelp).
If you want someone who cares more about growing your business, rather than you following, please reach out to us. We offer services that are affordable and custom to your needs and the needs of your business.