Business Today

No Shortcuts!

How not to increase followers on social media
Devika Singh   Delhi     Print Edition: December 3, 2017
No Shortcuts!
Illustration by Raj Verma

'Get 1,000 followers for $5': Sounds like a steal, right? Posts, messages and links on social media promising to increase follower count or likes for a small sum have become rampant. There are numerous platforms mushrooming on the Internet, offering easy ways to gain followers. On digital platforms where the race to garner attention of the target audience is getting tougher every second, such gimmicks are hard to resist. But don't fall for it, it's a trap!

Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, CEO & Co-founder of digital agency Gozoop informs that these dubious sites usually have several fake profiles and accounts that are used to add to an existing brand's follower base. In fact, Facebook recently announced that around 60 million, or 2 per cent, of its monthly average users may comprise fake accounts. Even Twitter has reported that about 16 million accounts on its platform are bogus.

"From a marketers' standpoint, all alternative methods of acquiring followers on social media are frowned upon," says Suveer Bajaj, Founding Partner of digital marketing agency FoxyMoron. Using such tools to increase followers on social media may do more harm than good. Facebook keeps identifying and wiping out bot profiles on its platforms. Profiles that have fake profiles/ counts as followers created by bots are usually banned.

What marketers also need to realise is that having a sizeable number of followers does not translate to more effective interaction with users. Algorithms of social media platforms gauge the level of engagement the content is able to facilitate, in order to figure out the brand's placement on a user's timeline. So, having a huge following may not help the business anyway. "Increasing followers will never help you increase your engagement. You may have a huge fan base but hardly anybody is participating. So whats the point," Naqvi asks.

An alternative, but expensive, method to gain traction on social media is to get your posts or account promoted by the platforms themselves. However, at the end of the day, content is king and is irreplaceable. Digital experts advise brands to invest in creating compelling content that builds engagement as well as following on social media platforms.


Cheesy Wars

REcently, twitter erupted in an intense debate about the placement of cheese in Apple and Google's burger emojis. Google's burger emoji had the cheese slice underneath the burger patty, while Apple's has it on the top. This observation by author Thomas Baekdal on Twitter spurred an unprecedented discussion. So much so that Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, jumped in and quipped that the company would "drop everything else" and correct the emoji first. Later, global fast food giants McDonald's, KFC and Burger King, too, joined in, with each claiming that their burger was better than others'.

Insta Tool

Facebook-owned photo and video sharing site Instagram has extended its branded content tool - which allows a publisher to tag a business or brand in its post - to creators and influencers who see high engagement on their posts. Instagram will now notify creators when it comes across any content that falls outside of its policy. Facebook's content policy defines branded content as the creator or publisher's content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value.

More Bang For The Buck

Snapchat is rolling out a new tool Snap Pixel that would allow advertisers on its platform to keep a track of users who viewed their ads, and also whether the ad led them to their websites. The tool is in testing phase now. Most social networks including Facebook and Twitter already have tools in place that allow advertisers to get an idea about the conversion rate on the respective platforms. Snapchat, however, will offer this feature for only vertical-video Snap Ads; not for Sponsored Lens or Sponsored Geofilter campaigns, the company has informed.

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