As I’m rebuilding my business after my maternity leave, I often look at ads for social media consultants. Too often in those ads there is the same statement: “Must get X followers by the end of the year,” and every time I shudder. These people are just asking to be scammed.
But worse is that it is the absolute wrong approach to take with social media.
Followers Can Be Bought
This isn’t news, right? We all know how easy it is to buy followers, right?
Want a thousand new followers? I can get them for you tomorrow. No problem. Just slip me a little cash. I’ll get you all the followers you want.
But will these mercenaries do anything for you? Not likely. They’re probably all fake and they have no interest in doing business with you, let alone interacting with your content.
The only thing these bought followers will do is give you a bigger ego. If that is your ultimate goal, more power to you. Have fun with that.
Real Followers are Much Harder to Get
These people are invested in your business and want to see you succeed, at least to the point that they chose to see your updates in their feed. It takes real work to find these people. They don’t just appear.
It takes consistently creating interesting content that is optimized to be found and shared. And then these potential fans have to connect enough to want to see more. That’s ridiculously hard, especially in a culture that is now bombarding people with information. But consistent work will slowly get you there.
Real Followers will Extend Your Reach
The fakes aren’t engaging with you. Or if they are, it’s not in a way that will get your brand in front of a lot of potential customers.
The real ones, however, can be turned into advocates who will speak on your behalf. When a troll comes around, they’ll knock them down. When you need to get the word out about something, they will help you extend the reach. Real followers are absolute gold when you engage with them and give them opportunities to help.
And then treating it like a gift when they choose to put your content on their accounts and thanking them? It makes them feel appreciated and wanting to do it again.
My Rule Break Moment
Like always, I have broken this rule on occasion. There was a time that you had to have 10,000 followers in order to put links in Stories on Instagram. I had a client who was close to that, so more followers was a goal that made sense to them. It would get them closer to their marketing goals.
These cases do happen, but it’s rare.
Overall, if you want to find a great social media consultant who will get you closer to your overall goals, do not mention wanting a certain number of followers. I personally will skip right over these ads and look for someone who is talking goals that are smarter and will get them further in the long run.