Local and international celebrities are known to buy followers online so as to gain more popularity on their various social media platforms.
From the Kardashian-Jenner sisters to Katy Perry and Justin Beiber, these celebrities have raised eyebrows over their huge following, especially on Instagram and Twitter.
The influence that they command online for example when promoting stuff often doesn’t correlate with the followers they have.
Influence is an irresistible tool for most celebrities and so companies have been working hard day and night to give these services.
The presence of sponsored content on social media is clear evidence that advertisers will do anything for sales including using celebrities to promote their services and products; but the people following these celebrities could be fake. This then opens a door to the world of fake and maybe one of marketing world’s worst kept secrets.
Purchasing social media followers has turned out to be lucrative business used by a wide range of public figures and organisations.
Some tech companies are riding on fake accounts, known as bots, which in some cases are just that or they copy profiles of real users and impersonate them.
This business is said to have loyal clients among entertainers, athletes, influencers, media figures, upcoming bloggers, entrepreneurs and small-scale business owners.
There is unending pressure to gain more followers, with the constant growth of social media following one’s need to gain popularity, which may mean business for you from advertisers.
Interestingly, the process of buying followers is not a complicated one. Ebay, Fast Followerz, Buzzoid, Buy Instagram followers and Devumi (now defunct) are some of the various sites that one can visit to purchase as many followers as you wish.
These companies also offer ‘like’ and ‘engagement’ options to their clients. Entertainment blogs pay the mentioned companies and others to ensure that they are always among the top recommendations when one uses on Google to look for entertainment news which then drives traffic to their blogs handing them a bargaining power over advertisers.
For as little as $30 (approximately Sh3,000), you can get 4,000 followers instantly watching your every content online.
In as much as one will have a big following from the purchase, there is a likelihood that one will get nothing but bots.
The New York Times published an investigation that looked at the Twitter accounts of several celebrities, which brought into question the operations of Devumi.
With the publication of the story, Twitter responded by launching an investigation into the allegations and also promised to act on bots.
Following complaints by users, Twitter went on a deactivation mode targeting bots, but this had proven costly to dormant users who have had their accounts deactivated in the process.
This knee-jerk reaction has not only made matters worse for users but has seen celebrities voice their complaints with many complaining of losing followers in a matter of minutes. The number of deactivated Twitter accounts stands in the north of 1 million.
This could be the same case with YouTube, in those curious cases where one finds a song with close to a million views and less than 100 comments and likes.
We all know that with everything comes the pros and cons. It is tempting and seems like a good idea, especially for those that want to keep their brand on its feet. But one realises that it is not worth it in the long run as you end up losing time and money.
Its benefits are interesting as thanks to this, one is perceived to be a very important person commanding a huge following. The more the following, the more one’s popularity shoots up.
There are cons to using this technique though. For starters, the fact that one purchases followers makes you lose your credibility.
This makes it hard for people to trust in you as it appears that everything you do is fake. It is possible that many people will lose trust in you after discovering that you buy people to gain popularity.
Another disadvantage that comes with this is that your fake followers do not engage with your content. In simpler terms this means that you have a “ghost following”.
For those that buy the followers to advertise their product online, it is unfortunate that these people will not buy any of your products as they do not even exist in the first place.
— Additional information: The Internet and The New York Times