Buying Likes and Follows: Tacky or Smart Marketing?

buying social media

In a recent discussion with some fellow authors about trying to build our social media followings, it came up that there are services that offer “bought” Likes and Follows. In other words, you pay a certain amount of money and *bam* you have 2000 Twitter followers or Facebook likes. More  money = more followers. My reaction: Wait! WHAAAAAAT??

The goal behind this tactic is to superficially bulk-up a social media presence. In other words, potential followers see you have a large following and are more likely to follow as well.

At the time of writing this, I have 334 Facebook Likes and 1,440 Twitter followers. Small potatoes followings for sure, but I earned every one of them. Each one is a legitimate, real person who chose to follow me based on my book reviews, blog, column, Studio 5, books, giveaways, etc. That feels good, even if the numbers are low.

On the other hand, as a fan, if I were to discover that someone I followed had actually purchased most of their following numbers, I would be put-off. And, honestly, would most likely un-follow.


Buying fake follows reminds me too much of buying the answers to a big mid-term. It feels like a cheat and a tacky deception.  One of my fellow authors said that social media often feels like high school – one big petty popularity contest where the masses are drawn to fancy cars, designer clothes and an entourage instead of a nice, intelligent person with much to offer.

But am I wrong, over-thinking it? Does it matter? Is it actually a smart marketing tool?

Personally, I glean a solid sense of satisfaction looking at my following numbers, small though they may be, and knowing that each one is real (not a paid-for random in Asia). I want people to Like my Facebook or Follow on Twitter because they enjoy my blog posts, book reviews or love the books I write. I want to talk with these people, ask opinions, share pictures and experiences, have fun. INTERACT. THAT is the point of social media.

I’m certainly not faulting anyone who has paid for numbers – it’s a noisy world and sometimes you have to do what it takes to get noticed – but I’ll pass. 

If you love books, reading, writing and are a real person ( 🙂 ), feel free to LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE or FOLLOW ON TWITTER. And to those of you who already do Like or Follow, thank you soo much! I appreciate every one of you.

WHAT DO YOU THINK??? Is it a cheat or just smart marketing? How would it make you feel to find out someone you follow bought her numbers?

As an author, would you do it? Have you done it and why?

SHARE NOTES: @TeriHarman, #TeamRealFollows


7 thoughts on “Buying Likes and Follows: Tacky or Smart Marketing?

  1. I hate this concept. I’ve been working hard for three years building up my followings on twitter, my blog and facebook. I’ve hosted giveaways, I’ve tried to keep things current and I feel like those followers are really mine. Isn’t the whole point to try to have followers that actually care about your content? People who have read your books, read your posts and like you enough to want to keep apprised of what you’re working on? It seems like buying followers wouldn’t really help with nurturing those relationships.

    Definitely not the route I’d want to go and it’s sad because now I’ll look at everyone else (and others will look at me) and wonder if those numbers are genuine or fake.

  2. I totally agree but there is a nuance. As authors our stories are our product and deserve to be promoted. If paid advertising for my novel indirectly brings additional Facebook or Twitter followers, I’ll do cartwheels. Until then I’ll earn friends, followers and likes the old fashioned way, one at a time!

    • For sure, Eric. Paid, legitimate advertising is one thing – buying fake numbers is another. I say, put your money into something that more directly sells your book.

      Teri Harman

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