When you’re trying to grow your social accounts organically it can be incredibly frustrating to watch people take shortcuts and effortlessly become more ‘successful’ than you. Although the trend of buying followers shows no sign of stopping, platforms are doing their best to make it as pointless as possible. Algorithm changes prioritise genuine interactions and authentic content.
Follower numbers don’t = success anymore. When it comes to social, the magic word is engagement.
The lovely folks over at Hootsuite have come with a handy formula to measure engagement rate, so you know how effective you're truly being:
"Take the number of Likes and comments your posts receive for a specific reporting period, your last 10 posts, for example. Then divide that by the number of followers. Multiply that number by 100 and you’ll have your engagement rate.”
number of Likes + number of comments / number of followers x 100 = engagement rate
You have to ask yourself where you assign value; having thousands of fake followers or a few hundred genuine followers who engage with your posts and might spread the word about your business.
Authenticity is a bit of a buzz word in social media at the moment, but for good reason. It’s painfully obvious when followers are bought and, even if your actual content is good, fake followers devalue your efforts and call into question the integrity of your brand.
Building any community, on or offline, is all about trust, so it’s important not to jeopardise that. All of us get spammy accounts following us, there’s not much you can really do about it. But when you scroll through an account's followers and they're mostly fake accounts, it’s hard to take that brand seriously.
We came across an account like this recently, belonging to a company in our industry. Even a marketing agency couldn't resist, and we get it! (kinda)
The appeal of follower buying and Instagram automation (those accounts that comment thumbs up on every picture no matter how inappropriate), is easy to see. It’s a cheap and effective way to boost your numbers. But it’s also incredibly damaging to your brand.
So the moral of the story? Work hard, focus on engagement and stay authentic. Social media is a space for you and your community, fake followers just don't fit in.
We’d love to hear from other agencies on this! What's been your experience with follower building? Join in the conversation over on our Instagram.
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