Buying Twitter Followers: How and Why not?

Twitter is where the world comes to discuss events in real time. Politics, sports, music, debates… Twitter is a powerful place to discover what people are talking about now and join in the global conversation. It’s not just helpful for news junkies however: Twitter is one of the most popular social media tools out there for businesses and not-for-profits alike. With everyone from SMBs using it to promote sales, to multinational corporations using it as a live customer service tool, Twitter is an important platform to consider when building your social media strategy.

While not as many people use Twitter as other platforms like Facebook, those of us who do use Twitter tend to use it a lot. With the average user logging in 32 times a day, that’s 32 valuable chances to get exposure for your organisation. Unfortunately, such active users create a lot of content! With around 6,000 tweets posted every second, it can be challenging to make your tweets stand out.

One of the key factors Twitter looks at when deciding to share a tweet with others is the kind of engagement it gets. If people are liking, commenting on and/or retweeting a tweet, that signals something great is going on.

(There’s a bit more going on to Twitter’s ranking algorithms than this: stay tuned for our upcoming article on the huge 2019 updates…)

This is a place we find many organisations get stuck.

It can feel like a big chicken and egg problem: how do you get engagement without followers? And how can you get followers without engagement?

One tempting shortcut many businesses explore is buying followers (typically fake accounts controlled by computer networks). With sites offering as many as 2500 fake followers for $50 USD, it can seem like an easy solution. Get your tweets boosted and look more popular! Sounds good right? Let’s look closer…

Fake followers can’t buy from your business.

In a social landscape where engagement & relationships are key, you don’t want fake likes bloating up your feed. This can skew your content strategy towards content that engages fake followers, as opposed to seeing the preferences of people that can produce a return for your brand. Fake followers can like, comment and retweet… but they can never actually buy from your business. It’s better for your business to create content that engages 200 potential customers than 2000 bots who will never do more than make the tally go up.

Australians are savvy digital consumers.

Fake comments & suspiciously high engagement rates stand out a mile to today’s digitally-sophisticated audience. If a business uses lots of bots, users will often ignore it, assuming more serious companies will have genuine followers. Twitter’s also working hard to remove bots from their platforms, deleting fake accounts & sometimes even suspending the real users that engaged with them. If an account is suspended, Twitter also lets everyone know about it through changing their profile to look something like this:

At the end of the day, it’s all about brand protection. We all want to make sure people appreciate the quality of the work we do, and all our communication channels support this.

So, if you’re less keen on using fake followers, what’s the solution?

Here are a couple of strategies you can consider.

Get to know your audience

Ever sat and watched those charity fundraisers hustle on the street for donations? Throwing out compliments, trying to grab people with interesting facts… They put in so much effort because it works: no one likes being shouted at or asked for something in a relational vacuum. Feel appreciated for your support? You’re much more likely to get involved.

Make sure you build relationships with your followers too, setting aside time to comment on and engage with their tweets as appropriate. Brands that behave like friends feel like them! Spend some time getting to know your followers is a great idea too. Twitter’s Audience Insights tool is a really handy way to get to know your followers better. Discover where your followers are, what times they log in and what their interests are. You can then use this info to create content that suits their needs more, driving engagement and brand loyalty.

Experiment with volume and timing

Twitter’s an ever-changing beast (did you know they test changes to their algorithm every week?) One thing we do know however is that timing matters. If you share a tweet during a time most of your users are offline, you’ll miss out on that crucial engagement that lets Twitter know your content is high quality.

What post times are best? There’s no rule of thumb that will suit everyone. An Enterprise account is going to have different followers with different expectations than a local influencer. We suggest carrying out a few experiments and tracking the results over a few weeks. A nice frequency spot to start with is around 5 -7 tweets per day.

Test the success of your content strategy with paid promotion

Not sure if a tweet isn’t gaining traction because there aren’t enough people seeing it? Or maybe it’s just the tweet itself that’s not connecting? Doing a series of tests with tweet promotion can help you get that answer.

Made a tweet you think is strong? Tweet it and promote it straight away to get that initial bite of engagement. Then, once you’re noticing the engagement kicking in, turn the promotion off and ride the engagement wave to let the organic exposure roll in.

Smart brands will watch their Twitter engagement closely, catching popular tweets and turning promotions on and off to keep that reach growing. On average, we expect 10% of content to gain 90% of all exposure. Don’t worry if every tweet isn’t as popular as the last! This is completely normal.

What’s Next?

If you’re curious about how social media can help your business grow, feel free to contact us.