I wouldn’t say I’m an angry person, passionate is more of the way I’d describe it. And there are certain things I’m passionate about. One of these, is organic social media.
I get so angry seeing these people that you can buy Twitter followers from. And you can buy Facebook likes, or Instagram followers. But these people don’t actually ‘like’ you or want to ‘follow’ you. Hell they might not even be real people! It’s a sure fire way to spam your account with fake followers.
Why am I so against it you might ask? Well, I’m not going to lie, but I bust a ball with my social media. Like this website? Built it myself. Love my blog posts? Write them myself. Enjoy my Facebook account? I do that myself too. I am the ultimate one-man-band. Maybe that’s my downfall.
In the grand scheme of things, I don’t want a million likes or followers just because. I want to inspire a million likers and followers.
If that isn’t enough, then how about a cautionary tale?
After doing some freelance work, I had a little spare change to use as an experiment. I wasn’t the sort of person to rush into buying followers, likers or anything like that but I was curious to see how it would work. And I thought £20 was an acceptable sum to waste – after all, it wasn’t going to be leaving my account on this freelancing website, so it wasn’t technically my money I was spending.
After recently starting up my Instagram – I thought this would be a good place to start. So I bought 1,000 Instagram followers. I was insistent on using somebody based in the UK, I didn’t want the complications of a language barrier with someone in Pakistan.
Now I did ask him to clarify that this would be a targeted campaign and the followers would be genuine people. He confirmed this saying they were from a community of legitimate accounts that follower each other.
This sounded fair enough, so I was happy to proceed.
And sure to his word, within hours, I was receiving hundreds of followers but when I clicked on their accounts, there was normally only one picture. I checked a few more and a few more. Some of them hadn’t uploaded any pictures. So these weren’t ‘active’ instagrammers, just shell accounts. Great.
I wasn’t happy with the outcome and when I complained to him, he happily offered me another service free of charge. I wasn’t likely to pass that up and used to opportunity to boost by YouTube subscribers.
YouTube was a different story and all of my followers had active accounts which was great, just not the kind of accounts I was looking for. Nothing remotely bookish in sight.
I resigned myself to my own stupidity and thought ‘I can live with this’. That’s when I noticed the YouTube subscriber number start to fall. The subscribers I’d paid for were now unsubscribing from my channel! Hardly fair in the grand scheme of things, considering the seller expressly said that I wouldn’t need to return follows in order to maintain numbers…lies.
So it’s safe to say things aren’t looking too good for my Instagram and YouTube accounts – although this is a good point for me to realise that I wouldn’t be doing the same with my Twitter of Facebook (my main social media accounts).
But what could I do?
My YouTube account – this was always an experiment from the beginning, I wanted to see if branching out into the bookstagram world was worth it. Turns out I don’t have the time or the skills in which to do this. Although it is a little fun, I much prefer taking photos on Instagram and writing. Unfortunately I’m a writer not a vlogger.
So largely I’m not too bothered. The numbers are good and the occasional views that come with it are really just an added bonus. I can live with it being as it is and I will upload occasionally just for something different on the blog.
My Instagram account – Now this was an area of concern because I really do love my Instagram account and I know how ‘fake followers’ can really damage a reputation. My number of followers wasn’t increasing and the ratio of followers to interaction varied greatly. Don’t get me wrong, the level of interaction I was receiving was already above what I’d anticipated which was amazing, but there seemed to be something holding me back. I couldn’t grow my fan base no matter how many pictures I posted or how hard I tried.
That’s when I decided to do something drastic. A Twitter audit for Instagram if you please. It took me a while on Google before I found the website www.igexorcist.com and immediately knew that I had what I was looking for. At the click of a button, I would be able to force unfollow all the ‘fake followers’ I had. Amazing.
However, the system isn’t perfect. It works on the interaction levels received from the accounts that were following me. So although I had only bought 1,000 followers, the website had identified 1,100 that were untrustworthy based on their interaction levels with me over the past 180 days. Seeing this as my only hope and not having the time to individually go through the 1,100 subscribers, I clicked the go button and let it to the dirty work. At a rate of 10 subscribers an hour, I gradually began to see my following drop. It was disheartening to say the least but before I knew it, I was receiving more followers than I would normally. This could be a coincidence but I was hopeful.
After being purged of my ‘fake followers’ I felt a little better and could finally look at my Instagram knowing that I hadn’t forged or faked anything. I still have the same challenge as I did before but this time I will be comforted knowing that those following me are real people with a real interest in my brand.
I would like to mention at this point that the idea to buy followers was first suggested in a ‘How-To Instagram’ book that I bought. If you’re interested in buying followers please do be careful, once they’re there, they’re hard to get rid of.
My advice is to not even go down this road. There is no satisfaction in it. You are better investing your money in quality content, and the occasional advert.
If you want advice on your social media or marketing, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at natashacorme[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk. I’m also happy to give a quick review of your current branding free of charge. Happy New Year