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How many followers does your brand have on Instagram?  What about likes on Facebook?  Go ahead.  Bring the number up in your mind and now I want you to think about how that number makes you feel.  Does it make you feel good or bad?

I ask this because there is an increasing amount of pressure to measure success by the size of our social media following.  Are you feeling it too? In fact, an entire industry has sprouted that encourages business owners to purchase followers, likes, and even positive reviews.  I can’t lie.  It is true that having a lot of fans and followers on social media is good for your business, but having fake followers is not!

You’re probably thinking, “Dayo, what’s so bad about faking it till you make it?”

Girl, let me tellll you!

These faux social media numbers don’t really measure success, they only mirror it.  How so? At a glance, large numbers can make an account appear popular.  And popularity does matter because of a concept called  social proof.  Social proof is a really profitable selling tool.  You see a lot of companies using it when they re-post customer pictures or testimonials.  Social proof signals to your social media visitors that if others are following or buying from you, then it’s okay for them to become fans and customers too.

That’s where the temptation comes in to skip the work of building up real social proof, and instead creating the facade of success.  I’m here to show you why this is not the best way to go. Here’s how purchasing social proof instead of earning it is more likely to hurt your business instead of help it.

 

Low Engagement

Engagement is the amount of people that interact with your post either by liking, commenting, or sharing it.  Purchased fans don’t engage with your content because they’re not real people.  So, you may have thousands of followers, but your engagement will be low.  On platforms like Facebook and Instagram this can work against you.  One of the ways Facebook and Instagram’s new algorithm decides which post to show in the feed, is by looking at how much engagement each post has.  The larger the gap between the number of followers and engagement, the least likely your updates will show up in the newsfeed of your followers.

 

Wasted Marketing Dollars

Facebook is one of the fastest growing online advertising platforms, mostly because they have so much data.  You can show ads only to people who are recently engaged, who just purchased a specific vehicle, or whose income is within a certain bracket.  Whatever your niche is, Facebook is a great place to advertise because of the creepy amount of data it has on us.

Many of Facebook’s most profitable advertising tools rely on our current audience who can be easily identified from our Facebook pages.  You can show ads to those who” Like” your business page and people who are friends of those who like your page.  Purchasing “Likes” damages your ability to take advantage of Facebook’s marketing tools.  You’ll end up paying for ads to reach your fake followers. So not only will you waste money purchasing fake followers, but you’ll also have to pay MORE for ads to reach your real followers.

 

Wrong Measurements

I won’t lie.  Having big numbers can not only feel good, but it can also help your business.  However, these numbers are not the most important measurements for business success.  There are other, more accurate ways to evaluate your social media success such as post likes, engagement, sales from your posts, traffic, or leads, etc.  Simply relying on a large number of followers can be a waste of money if you can’t determine how it actually makes you money.

 

Reputation

Have you ever been checking out an Instagram account with a ton of followers?  Let’s say they have 50,000 fans.  At first glance, all seems pretty legit, but after scrolling through the pictures you notice that they only have 20- 30 likes per photo.  Obviously, something is not right, right?

People WILL notice when you purchase a large amount of followers.  And even if they don’t notice the odd lack of engagement, it doesn’t mean you won’t be found out eventually. Every few years social media platforms come out with an update that detects and removes fake profiles.  By purchasing social proof, your business runs the risk of a suspended or damaged reputation once you’ve been found out.

 

Keep It Real

You may look up and find yourself inspired by a similar brand who is doing much better than you.  They have more customers, more reviews, more experience, and more money.  The  desire to be as popular as them is understandable, but the worst thing you can do is to pretend.

The brands that we love the most, that we follow for years, that we check every day all do one thing well.  They lead with value.   They are consistent in giving us what we want, whether that’s gossip, hair tutorials, high-quality products, or great information.  With that comes loyalty and the large followings.

So keep it real.  It’s important to define what success looks like to your business.  We know it’s not just numbers. (They say you can’t eat popular)   Identify measurements that resonate with your brand’s goals by asking relevant questions.  Are your readers resonating with you blog posts?  Do your customers see success after completing your challenge?  Is your product getting positive feedback?  Are your clients succeeding after a coaching session with you?  These are REAL measurements of success.

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