Imagine finding a great blogger with quality content, great captions and you’re blown away with the amount of followers she has: 30,000 followers. You start scrolling through her pictures only to see that something doesn’t click: she has around 100 likes and her engagement (how many comments she receives and comments back) is non-existent, only 10-20 comments. Now, if I saw this (which I have), I even go a step further and check their followers and alas, the truth is found: a bunch of random, sketchy-looking profiles that have 10 followers and not even a profile picture and these are what would be considered their so-called friends, admirers, and audience.
What doesn’t bother me isn’t the fact that bloggers are buying followers as much as the fact that it’s becoming the new norm.
When brands started to look for influencers to collaborate with, this wasn’t because of the “celebrity” status, but rather for the simple fact that bloggers are considered normal people with normal lives that have an audience whose authentic opinion they rely on and helps the audience make easier decisions when it comes to buying a product. 10 years later with blogs opening left and right, the objective of starting a blog has become gray and now, it seems like in a lot of cases, bloggers start blogs to make this their full-time job fast and have a lucrative business out of posting various daily #ootd’s, hence the sudden 30k followers in 2 months after opening a blog. I’m not saying this isn’t possible; I’ve seen blogs grow from 2,000 to 10,000 followers in less than a year, but you see their hard work & dedication with their posts and content creation. However, when you have followed a blogger for three months and suddenly 20,000 followers appeared overnight, their credibility starts to be questioned.
In a social media world where everything seems perfectly curated and planned, wouldn’t it seem logical to keep your audience authentic and genuine? Because at the end of the day you can have a million followers, but if 90% of those are fake, how is your influence being genuine when all you care about is having a grand amount of followers to get bigger and better partnerships.
I personally do not buy followers, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been tempted to. You see, if you end up in the social media vortex, where you are focused on bloggers’ likes & engagement & number of followers, you start to doubt yourself and say “why can’t I buy them too?”
Here are the reasons why I didn’t and haven’t:
1. I would be lying to brands about my actual influence. If I had 15k followers and only 5000 of those were real, that would mean that by promoting a product there would be a gap of 10,000 people whose opinion wouldn’t be valuable.
2. I would be lying to my followers and myself. It’s being unfair to people who follow me because they believe I’m genuine but the truth of the matter is I’m lying to get ahead of the blogging game by cheating my way to the top.
3. I wouldn’t be genuine and that’s a problem. If I was blogging because all I want is to get money off of it and have a huge following, I would’ve bought followers a loooong time ago.
Now, if you ARE buying bots and followers, do us (and yourself) a huge favor and DON’T LIE about your fake audience if someone asks you about it. At the end of the day, I’m not one to tell you what’s the best decision for you and your blog (you do whatever works best for you), but don’t lie about it. If you had the guts to buy them, have the guts to be truthful about it, maybe even say why. When it comes to blogging, there are many things you can invest in, like your website or your logo; what isn’t a great investment is buying fake people to like/comment. In my eyes, blogging isn’t a popularity contest nor who has the most followers. It’s about wanting to put your voice and making a good influence, changing stereotypes or opening people’s minds about what you’re bringing to the table. Honesty is the best policy and that’s something that still applies in this blogging world.
What do you think about bloggers buying followers? If you blog, are you for or against it?