Can you buy friendship?
It’s an interesting question and one even more relevant today as friendships now exist online as well as in the real world
I recently got into a (mini)debate about this subject over on LinkedIn, where a fellow user posted an article, offering a service of buying Twitter followers.
(See discussion on LinkedIn comments – note: exists within a group – membership required)
However, I wonder – what is the VALUE of those followers?
You may find a small handful who are interested in what you have to offer but the vast majority won’t be. You are doing the equivalent of the junk-mailout, hoping enough will stick to make it worth your while.
With a mailout, you are hoping the recipient doesn’t throw your letter in the bin and acts upon it.
With a mass-follower approach, you are hoping they follow you back, and act.
But act on what?
Are they going to follow you back – because you followed them? Some may. Others will look at your tweets at ask “what’s in this for me?”. If your Twitter stream is full of sales messages, or even worse, nothing at all, it is unlikely that they will let you into their circle. (and even if they do follow you back – an unfollow is likely if you bombard them with sales pitches)
Are they going to buy your product after a simple Twitter follow? Are they going to be so impressed that you’re found them, that they’ll immediately switch to your brand?
You are not generating any form of loyalty by engaging in mass following.
Social Media is “social”
My advice to any client is to treat social media in the same way you treat making friends/contacts. You do not walk into a dinner party, hand out a load of flyers with your phone number, and walk out again. In reality you have conversations, engage and entertain.
With social media you need to literally “make friends” with your followers. You need to nurture those friendships, avoid upsetting them and keep the conversation going.
Ironically, one of the Twitter follower websites mentioned by our friend in the original article, seems to actively promote this “quality over quantity” approach. (See infographic left – click for original)
There is some excellent advice here – which all point to the social element of social media
It’s a shame that clients are falling for this “mass clicking” approach, when – in the long run – it won’t benefit them at all.