Social media these days is so important. Everyone uses it. Not only individuals, but also companies, politicians, the police and so on. The main goal for most? To reach as many followers as possible. Because the more influence you have, the more important you are.
There is a certain need to get as many followers as possible. You can see this trend on Instagram, but also on Twitter. A few years back the phenomena called ‘buying followers’ occurred (although it existed way before that). People could literally buy followers, because you will get more popular. You don’t alwas have to buy followers, there is a great example of a famous Dutch singer. In November 2013 there was a disaster in the Philippines and she said ‘for every like on my Facebook page, I will donate 1 euro’. In the end she got over 200.000 likes, which means she should donate €200.000. Ofcourse she did not do this but said that she would donate ‘generously’. She donated some money and got over 200.000 new likes on her Facebook page. Does this count as buying followers for you? To me it does. She gets more popular and most of the likes were because people liked the initiative, not her music per se.
Even Harvard (2015) published an article about faking your reputation. They found that 16% of the Yelp.com reviews are a fake! On Yelp you can find restaurant in your neighborhood together with their reviews. A restaurant is also more likely to commit review fraude when it’s reputation is weak. You can buy a reputation on the internet and you can make it look as real as possible. For the short term it can be useful for your business; you are popular and have a good reputation, but eventually people start to notice that these people are not real. You have no engagement or whatsoever with your followers, something so valuable for your business.
In December 2014 Instagram decided to clean their user database. It had tremendous consequences and a lot of people lost some followers. Mostly around 100 followers, which is not that big of a deal. But for Justin Bieber it was. In one day, Justin Bieber lost 3,5 million followers on his Instagram! Did he buy them? Or was it just a ‘coincidence’?
What do you think about buying followers? If you could be a big social influencer because of this, is it worth the money and/ or risk?