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Why You Should Buy Your First 5000 Twitter Followers

IMB_CantBuyMeLove In 1987, Patrick Dempsey starred in a movie that gave geeks everywhere hope that they might have a shot at being popular. The movie was called Can't Buy Me Love, and the somewhat far fetched storyline was that a geek paid a popular girl at his high school $1000 to pretend to be his girlfriend. Over the course of the movie, he does become popular, then gets outed for the fake relationship and loses his status. The film ends with the girl realizing she actually does love him for his "inner beauty" and they ride off into the sunset on a lawn mower. The irony of the title is that money does indeed accidentally buy him love.

When it comes to social media, this idea that you can't buy affinity also seems to be a basic truth. Most self respecting social media users and any consultant with half a shred of credibility would strongly counsel any client they had against trying to buy followers on a site like Twitter. Imagine for a moment that this same Twitter account were an empty restaurant that you were walking past. No one wants to eat in an empty restaurant – there is usually something wrong with the food. If that same restaurant were full, mahy diners would reconsider dining there.

Following this logic, it could be more likely that someone would follow your Twitter account if they see some critical mass of followers, rather than very few. On Twitter, you can buy those first followers. Are they likely to be completely useless and not engaged in what you have to say? Yes. Is this the ideal way to grow a Twitter account? Of course not. Will it break some unwritten (or perhaps written) rules of social media and have social media gurus raising their 140 character swords ready to fight? Probably. But the sad fact of Twitter is the most of anyone's followers (whether grown authentically or not) are simply not engaged on a frequent basis.

IMB_EntrepreneurLogo Perhaps having a large initial pool of unengaged followers is not so bad, especially if those initial followers can help you to attract the right kind of followers who actually will be engaged. This month's Entrepreneur Magazine featured a column from Jonathan Blum titled "Rented Friends" where he tried an experiment in buying 5000 followers for $430 on Twitter to see what would happen.  As he noted for a conclusion, "5000-plus followers does count for something in the nutty social media world. The bottom line: Yes, some of these followers may not be real. … social media is so bizarre that whether or not my followers are real is almost beside the point."

I will probably never buy my Twitter followers, and am not quite ready to start suggesting to clients that this is a good strategy. Still, part of evolving with social media is being open to even the most heretic of ideas. The ultimate principles of creating great shareable content and engaging authentically in social media still matter. My only point is this: You still can't make someone fall in love with you or your brand … but maybe a little cash can help stack the deck in your favor.

9 thoughts on “Why You Should Buy Your First 5000 Twitter Followers”

  1. Does not make any sense to me. Why would any of these 5000 followers be any relevant to your business or worth the investment? Invest that money in a ‘reason’ for people to join your social media world, don’t buy them (giveaway competition?).

  2. It seems to me that if buying followers does gain popularity, the amount to which the number of followers you have matters, will decrease.

  3. The more important fact (unstated perhaps because it’s so obvious) is that once you gain followers, you must give them a reason to stay…and that always comes by generating interest in your brand and posting unique content.

  4. In the end, it depends on how many qualified followers you get after the irrelevant ones fall off the list, right?

    What’s the expected ROI on purchased Twitter followers? Comparable to buying an email list? Better or worse than 1%?

    If we had a few benchmarks, you’d know if that was a good investment.

    Buddy Scalera

  5. This is a good article but you need to compare apple with an apple. People are following you based on your content and content is the gold mine here. You can buy your followers, but how long will it last? Social Media ROI is not based on your no. of followers or fans.If you got 5000 followers/fans but the total no of people commenting on your post is only 10 followers. Will it still consider as a good social media campaign?

  6. I can’t say for certain that my experience is typical or representative of anything except my experience, but I “bought” about 3500 Twits and another 1500 or so have added themselves in about a year and a half (on one of my accounts) Some (commerce oriented) users will follow others who have a large number of followers because they usually pay attention to that person’s name and tweeting that name @bestgamesnews (one of mine) for instance, may attract some or even all of that person’s followers.
    BTW, I used an automated add-twitter-followers service and it cost a lot less than US$450 for those 3500 followers, although it did take several days to accumulate them because apparently there is a fairly firm Twitter rule about how many you can follow in any one day without appearing to be a Tweet spammer.
    Relatively few of those 5000 followers have “bothered” to unfollow after their “auto” followback software got them on my list even though that account rarely tweets anything of general interest (not the @bestgamesnews account, the “purchased” followers are on another account).
    Hope this is helpful.
    Stafford “Doc” Williamson

    P.s. I’m an active participant in promoting biofuels and other “green” stuff and try to show up for #biochat each Wed about 6 or 7 PM EST. If you are interested in #climatechange, #biofuels, #ethanol, #biodiesel, #socent, #agchat, please feel free to “drop in” (“lurkers” are welcome too, you don’t have to have anything to say).


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