Slowly Does It

TwitterIt doesn’t happen overnight. How many times have you heard that gem of an insight? I’ve just started to use Twitter (as a foundation for the creation of a glamping business in Ireland), and, yes, I know I’m a bit late to the party but the tiny successes are inspiring and I am already starting to see a snowball effect. In theory, clocking several small gains will put the Ireland business in a great place when we open in 12-18 months’ time, all being well, and the plan seems to be working.

So it was with great interest that I read a series of tweets from Twitter expert Mark Shaw after TV presenter Alice Beer admitted to buying followers.

Now if you haven’t come across Mark, you really should look him up, on Twitter @markshaw or online or both, you’ll find Twitter tips in digestible and applicable nuggets.

So when Mark tweeted to Alice Beer warning buying followers is a really bad idea, not only did I listen but gave myself a metaphoric pat on the back for building my Twitter followers up slowly and surely.

Mark outlined the reasons why buying followers was not a good strategy more than a year ago in his blog after a number of celebrities and CEOs grew their following literally overnight.

It may be relatively cheap and easy – just Google, companies vie for your attention (and your cash) promising thousands of new followers but Mark is adamant that it’s a waste of time and money. Apparently, it’s not too difficult to see who has paid for followers – bogus accounts have no biographies, no tweets and are usually foreign. By looking at who else they are following, it is easy to see who is buying followers.

Picture: The Telegraph

Picture: The Telegraph

There are several reasons not to buy followers, they will never:-
* Engage with you
* Tweet
* Retweet you
* And, at some stage, Twitter will remove them so your following will go backwards

Whilst Mark is pretty much the definitive voice on Twitter, he spoke at AM’s digital conference last year after I was tasked with finding social media experts, it’s always pays to garner other opinions. On LinkedIn I found a discussion thread whereby a marketing communications agency owner asked for thoughts on buying Twitter followers to boost his fledgling business account. The response was an overwhelming: don’t do it from the majority of the 385 who commented. Although a few did say they had positive experiences of buying followers.

Last year, Metro ran a report describing the influx of ‘click farms’ whereby low-paid workers often in poor countries are paid to ‘like’, follow and retweet. Metro reported the problem of bogus accounts is widespread with Facebook suggesting as many as 11.2% of accounts could be false or duplicates. Channel 4 even broadcast a documentary last year highlighting the use of Facebook and Twitter by PRs desperate for endorsements, likes and retweets for their clients.

Falling into the popularity trap can actually be an individual’s or a company’s undoing. And by so doing, the point of social media is missed entirely – it’s about your level of engagement and not the number of followers or likes.

twitter_logoBuilding your online community takes time and effort and whilst we may not even be in triple figures yet, let alone into the tens of thousands, I am convinced our slow burn strategy will pay dividends in the long run. Follow me @debbiekirlew if you’re interested in the UK automotive retail industry, marketing, social media, education and Ireland and my partner who tweets @mayoglamping as we build our online community ahead of starting our glamp site business on the West Coast of Ireland.

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