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Why buying Twitter followers is bad news for your business

Establishing yourself as a big player on Twitter is rapidly becoming one of the most important aims of a business’s marketing strategy.

The benefits of gathering a large following are obvious. You will have a platform to deliver your brand messages, product information and promotions, the ability to engage with relevant consumers and the possibility of gauging user feedback.

Building such an organic following, however, can be a relatively drawn-out process for small to medium-sized businesses that have no existing social media presence. In fact, it’s the reason why some businesses are turning to buying followers. Yes, for actual money.

On the surface, buying followers may seem like a worthwhile quick-fix solution for businesses looking to make an instantly reputable profile on the social networking website.

However, the truth is that buying Twitter followers will only serve to damage your business rather than enhance it. Here is why.

1. It just ‘looks bad’

You could argue that buying followers is simply a useful branding exercise. After all, having a large follower count associated to your account certainly looks impressive – but have you ever stopped to think of the impact buying followers has on actual consumers or clients? It wouldn’t take a technical genius to quickly delve underneath the exterior of your fictitious following. Upon checking a user’s follower base, repetitious profile pictures, spammy bios and ludicrously high following counts are all telltale signs that a profile has been boosted unethically. Would you want to do business with a company who acted unethically?

2. There’s no engagement

One of the real advantages to having your own unique Twitter following is the access to genuine engagement from potential clients, customers or even field experts. Authentic followers can share your message, endorse your product and promote a further growth to your follower count. There’s no short cut when it comes to this type of practice. Buying followers will only provide you with automated bots – not real people. They don’t interact with you, they have no real purpose.

3. Your new followers aren’t guaranteed to stay

One thing that many businesses – or indeed individuals – fail to foresee when buying Twitter followers is the fragility of their purchase. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook are constantly stepping up their procedures to stamp out the creation of fake, automated and spam profiles. You may have bought a 5,000-strong following at the start of the week but could be left with just half of that by the end of it. What may seem like a one-time payment may turn into several if you intend on maintaining your beefed-up follower count.

4. It will harm your business

Perhaps the most important point to mention in all of this is that buying Twitter followers will only result in harming your business. Potential clients or customers are almost guaranteed to put extensive thought into researching your business before investing in your product or service. It won’t take them long to discover the errant processes involved in acquiring a fake Twitter following – either by using the methods outlined above or via a tool like Status People. The outcome will be less business and disenchanted consumers.

Every business should be taking advantage of the powerful social networking tool that is Twitter – just make sure you do it in the right way. You know, the free way?

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You can find +Matthew Wood on Google+ where he shares all of his latest blogging ventures. He also shares his opinions on SEO through the company’s Twitter page.