Why Buying Twitter Followers Is Damaging To Your Brand

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“How can I get Twitter followers fast?”

Doing it organically. It’s so….

Hard .
Time Consuming.

I’ve heard all those reasons and  more for why businesses and personal brands buy Twitter followers. Lately, in conversations about personal branding, this opportunity seems to be making a resurgence. Here’s the quick answer to question above: there’s no easy way.

One person I spoke to bought some kind of crazy personal branding package which included 10,000 followers, but it also included such winning tips as “How to write a book in a weekend” and tips on how to setup a YouTube channel and a video suggesting that you are an associate of a famous (still living) founder of a company whose logo looks like it has had a bite taken out of it. I mean. Are you serious?!  It made me queasy just looking at it. But after stomaching that description, I asked WHY they would take 10,000 fake Twitter followers?  I heard this, “Well, I want people to take me seriously.” After I blew coffee all over my computer screen, I suggested to this person that buying Twitter followers could actually DAMAGE their personal brand and do the opposite of what they were hoping to accomplish.

And then it dawned on me. We’re not done with this conversation and maybe a blog post is needed.  This is going to be a brutally honest, more than a little sarcastic and slightly snarky blog post. If you’re not up for it, I’ll forgive you for exiting stage right exactly now.

Thanks for sticking around.

So. If you’re thinking of buying Twitter followers, especially for a personal brand, but really, any brand at all, let me give you the reasons why buying Twitter followers is actually detrimental to your brand.

10,000 Followers and a Bag of Chips:
Will get you nothing. It takes exactly .01 second to sniff out people who have created a community and people who have bought one. So NOW you’ve just joined the legions of lunatics who don’t want to work for anything and will take any shortcut possible. Why not just sneeze on your hand and offer to shake hands with someone? Because thinking that someone can’t figure that out is about as disrespectful to them as offering them  their next winter flu.That’s an excellent introduction to your personal brand.

Plagiarists. Fakers. Cheaters. You.
That’s how it works out. If you’re selling your “worth” based on Twitter followers, then you’ve just misrepresented yourself. Your legions of bots and fake accounts won’t support your book/speaking engagements/blog posts/personal appearances. Ever. They don’t exist. They turn what is already meaningless (valuing your worth in Twitter followers) into worthless, because your audience (I use that term loosely here)  benefits NO ONE. Not you. Not anyone who hires you. You’re not adding value OR authority to your topic. Plus, how embarrassing if you get publicly outed as Mitt Romney did last year.

You’ve Just Publicly Devalued Yourself
Why not just stand on a street corner in a fuzzy bear costume with a “Book For Sale” sandwich board? This isn’t a PR stunt, it’s sad. Know the difference. And if you don’t think that you can create an audience, why would anyone else? Furthermore, you’ve essentially just said, I’m not even interesting/dedicated/clever enough to get 100 Twitter followers on my own, so I bought 10,000. So, why would anyone pay you for whatever life-changing piece of brilliance you’re hawking?

All Show. No Go.
You’re not interested in working from the ground up. Ethics? Pshaw. Appearances first, baby. You’re the Twitter equivalent of the $30,000 millionaire. Looking sharp, winner.  You’ve made everyone who MIGHT be interested in your story wondering if the story is authentic at all? What’s real and what isn’t?

Me. Me. Me. 
Buying a Twitter audience says you also don’t care about anyone else but yourself. It says “I’m selfish”, in that spoiled child sort of way.  You just can’t help yourself and you don’t want to. Its alll about you. You’re not interested in actually CONNECTING on Twitter or creating an audience. You’re not interested in learning the “rules of engagement” because you’re above all that. Your needs come first and you’ve never given any thought to how you might actually add genuine value to other people…especially people with less than 10,000 followers, I mean, you wouldn’t deign to stoop to the level of the little people, would you?

Most people get SOME fake followers at some point. But when you’re entire “audience” is fake, it’s just painful to witness. I know why its attractive. It’s easy to get caught up in the “Twitter count” hype. But really. It’s sort of like cheating on your taxes, it catches up sometime..and for what? You’re better than that. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe someone with a lot of Twitter followers.


(if you can’t see the video, click here)

PS: Think “everyone” does it? Check for yourself: http://fakers.statuspeople.com/