Why you should never buy followers, fans or likes.
Last Monday I got a phone call from a VERY angry client.
He is a home improvement contractor in southern California who wanted to know why he was getting no response from his tweets and posts even though he had over 5000 followers on Twitter and over a 1000 fans on Facebook.
He said, “I have done everything you taught me in that training about how and what to post. I post at least once per day on Facebook including photos of jobs, testimonials and even an occasional video of a happy customer. I tweet 4-5 times a day with 1 or 2 being links to jobs we are doing or have just completed and the rest being interesting articles about home improvements. I even respond to every new follower and mention I get. I am putting in 5-6 hours a week that I don’t have on this stuff, but I have not had one lead come from either Twitter of Facebook since I took over posting 3 months ago. Not that I ever really got any.”
So what was the problem?
I took a look at his Twitter account and immediately knew why he wasn’t getting any response.
I asked, “You are only following 397 people on Twitter, where did all the followers come from?”
His answer? “They were there when I took this over from the company I had hired to handle this social stuff. I don’t know how they got them.”
I think you can guess where this is headed. The social media company he had hired purchased 5000 Twitter followers and 1000 Facebook fans to “jump start” his account. Not one of those purchased followers and fans was a real person. The company he had hired never did anything else to build targeted followers in the city where my new client is located, so only a handful of possible clients ever followed him.
Once he took over his accounts from them, he followed a few hundred people in his area, but thought he already had more followers than any other home improvement contractor in his city (5000 is a large following for a local home improvement contractor), so why bother spending too much time on building up more.
All the while most of his real, honest to goodness followers were family, friends and current customers.
So why is this so bad?
My client had paid to come to one of my trainings where I taught him how to build a following and how and what to post.
Then he went back home and spent 5-6 hours per week (I suspect that between taking photos and videos and writing the content and posting the actual tweets and #FB posts it was closer to 10 hours) creating content and posting to Twitter and Facebook for 3 months.
That is 60+ hours.
If he had just went door to door in his neighborhood for 60 hours he would have drummed up a minimum of 15+ qualified leads and 3-4 sales. In his business that is $30,000 to $40,000 in revenue. At least $6,000 in profits!
Revenue & profits he had lost by spending time tweeting and posting to followers and fans that were not real, that couldn’t buy his service.
So what was the solution?
- We blocked all 5000 of the fake followers on Twitter (it wasn’t hard to figure out which ones are which) which took an entire day.
- Then we started following people in his area and people who were following local contractors and other local businesses.
- We tweeted once per day to come check his company out on Facebook for special discounts and more videos & photos of jobs.
- He also added his Twitter and Facebook addresses to his website, flyers and business cards and started passing them out.
In just 10 days he has over 1000 REAL followers in his local area and another 100 who are possible rainmakers (vendors & other complimentary businesses to his) and has already received his first good, qualified lead. More importantly he has a plan in place to build up a following of REAL prospects and other people who can steer prospects his way.
We will check back in 90 days to see how he is doing, but in the meantime he has confidence that he can get good business from his social media efforts on Twitter and Facebook.
An expensive lesson learned to be sure, but a happy ending.
Don’t repeat his mistakes. NEVER, ever buy Twitter followers or Facebook fans or likes.