The Difference Between Buying Followers and Advertising

twitter-bird-logoIf you’ve been on social media for any number of minutes, it’s likely you’ve had someone promise to get you “15,000 Twitter followers in one day!” or “3,000 Facebook fans for only $150!“. This can often be promoted under the guise of “advertising”, however there are important differences between purchasing social media followers and advertising.

Here are 4 reasons you should not purchase a social media following:

Terms of Service

Purchasing followers can be against the terms of service for many platforms. Before you make the decision to purchase followers, you need to be sure you are not violating the terms of service of the platforms you are on. Otherwise, it is very possible you will get your own profile shut down which can be embarrassing and costly for your brand.

Fake Profiles

Often the profiles that you are purchasing are not real people. They are profiles that were created for the express purpose of being sold as followers. For all intents and purposes, they are spam profiles. Much like dead people should not be able to vote, fake profiles should not be followers you’re clamoring to have.

Targeted Demographic

Even if the new 3,000 followers you got are all real people, it’s unlikely that they are ever going to purchase your service, promote your business or become loyal to your brand. These types of followers are doing nothing but bloating your numbers with people who will never engage your brand and adding more noise to your social media stream.

Your Credibility

It’s pretty easy for any veteran social media user to spot someone who has grown their social media presence in this way. Follower and fan counts are public and easy to locate, so huge increases of social media followers in very short periods of time are obvious. Plus, websites like Status People make it very easy for someone to scan your social media accounts using a free tool that provides an analysis of the % of fake followers you have.

Purchasing followers, likes or subscribers is not a good use of your budget for many reasons. If you are going to spend money on growing your social media presence, invest it in true advertising so you can target your core customer type and location, and achieve some positive and relevant results.


  1. Alexandra

    I just read this weekend that you could buy followers. I didn’t know that.

    I always wondered how someone who is barely on twitter or FB has over 20,000 followers … and now I know.

    I guess the people think they can say they have that many followers BUT when you see they don’t interact on the medium, it doesn’t add up.

    Thanks for explaining in a language I can follow along.

    You guys are the best.

  2. Doctor G

    You’ve summed this up really nicely. Even before I understood the bot phenomenon on twitter I was still skeptical of a tweet from “someone” promising me 10000 followers who didn’t have more than 100 themselves!


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