While it is important to have social media fans and followers, the number of fans shouldn’t be your main focus. Your initial focus should be on growing your community organically with fans and followers who are truly interested in the content you post, including current and potential customers or fans. Once you have fans and followers, your focus should be on engaging with them by sharing valuable content, and having genuine interactions with them.

There are hundreds of “companies” out there that claim to be able to get hundreds or thousands of fans in short order. It’s a tempting offer to be sure: grow your page to show how popular your band, brand, or local business is, but, unless you have money to burn, there are some things you should consider before investing in such a service.

1. Numbers aren’t everything. Having 10,000 fans or followers doesn’t mean much if they aren’t engaging with you. Bought fans don’t engage because most of them aren’t real people. Even if they are real people, they aren’t at all interested in what you have to say. Don’t believe me? Check out this article from practicalecommerce.com: You Can’t Buy Real Followers and Fans.
2. Low engagement = Low EdgeRank. This is Facebook specific. EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm that determines which posts go into users’ news feeds. It’s difficult enough to get your posts into the news feeds of fans as it is, but when your Facebook Page has little or no engagement (especially with a large number of fans), your EdgeRank will drop and no one will see your posts – including your real fans. For a complete explanation of EdgeRank, see this article from AllFacebook.com:What is EdgeRank?

 Here’s an image that explains the EdgeRank formula:

3. It’s a waste of money. Your money would be better spent by running Facebook ads or Promoted Tweets targeted to your ideal market. Granted, it will cost a bit more than buying a fiverr.com deal, but the fans you get from targeted ads will be more likely to engage with your posts and other content. Note: Recently some articles have surfaced asserting that, some “likes” from Facebook ads aren’t targeted people – and possibly even fake accounts – just like purchased “likes”. (See this article from BBC News here). I agree that this is an issue, but it’s been my experience that the vast majority of the “likes” are genuine. If you’re going to spend money to grow your page on Facebook or Twitter, the best way is through advertising.

The intention behind growing your following should be to increase brand awareness, share information with your target audience, engage with them, and ultimately create brand loyalty and gain customers. If your only focus is the number of fans and followers you have, you’re completely missing the point. What is the point of posting and tweeting to 10,000 people who could care less what you have to say; or worse, aren’t real people? What advantage does that give your brand, band, or business?

Growing your community takes time and effort – just like anything that is worthwhile. Don’t fall victim to these scams that promise hundreds or even thousands of followers in a short time – and they are scams. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time to find people/brands that you should be following, engage with them, run some Facebook ads, promote some tweets, and remember to ask current customers to follow you. Also, ensure that your website has social connect buttons (that are readily visible), all printed materials have links to your social profiles, and that you are posting valuable content.

Have you ever paid for fans and followers? What was your experience?