In the HBO movie, Fake Famous, four relative nobodies are given a full social media makeover. Not only do they get new clothes, hair, and makeup, but a healthy injection of paid followers and engagement. It had never really occurred to me to try to game the system by purchasing followers.
Then one day, I tried to unlock Audience Insights on my Facebook Business page only to find that you need at least 100 followers before you can view those analytics. Over the course of four and a half years, I had amassed a grand total of about 30 followers. Getting to 100 seemed daunting if not impossible. So the idea hatched – what if I just purchased followers on Facebook?
Where to purchase followers?
There are lots of different sites offering all sorts of social media engagement. And each one is generally a separate fee – likes, shares, follows, comments – all for a price. I started with a cursory search for the best, most reliable social media farms online. After the first one on the “Best Of” list failed to process my payment, I landed on SidesMedia.
Their online reviews were great (a little too good, to be honest). I appreciated some content on their site about the pros and cons and potential pitfalls of utilizing their service. The payment plans and packages were clearly laid out and the investment was minimal. So I decided to give a whirl. 250 Facebook followers cost $9.99.
What did I receive after purchasing followers?
The first thing to expect is that new followers won’t come rushing in all at once. And that’s a good thing. To avoid triggering any watchdogs inside Facebook, followers will trickle in over about a 72 hour period. They promise that all of the new followers will be real profiles and they delivered on that. All have profile photos, friends, and activity on the platform. It has increased my reach and impressions slightly, but just because they follow me doesn’t mean they engage with me – not for free anyway.
About 30 minutes after payment was processed, I got my first new follower – Sanjoy Sarkar. Followed a few minutes later by Abdullah Al Mamon, Akash Foysal, and উড়ন্ত মন. In the end, despite purchasing only 250 new followers, I ended up with about 500 new profiles following me. 476 are located in Bangladesh. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but for a small, independent, Dallas-based marketer, there’s certainly a fishy smell to anyone poking around. I did get more followers than I paid for, they all have active profiles, and they have all stuck around for months now. Sometimes the problem is that your paid followers disappear after a short time, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my experience.
Was it worth it?
Ultimately, I got exactly what I paid for – more even. The payment process was fast, easy, and secure. No shenanigans were employed and no penalties incurred. While I may not have built up my social following for real, it did allow me to unlock advanced Audience statistics that were previously unavailable to me.
I probably didn’t increase my actual reach, nor did I onboard engaged participants for my brand. In order to drive further, I would need to purchase Instagram followers to match, a certain number of likes on my posts, and by the time it appeared genuine, I would be out of pocket a few hundred dollars. I can’t say I would recommend it as a strategy for your social channels, but as a kick start to unlock some features, I believe I got my $9.99 worth.