I have been meaning to publish this post in a long time but got busy doing all sorts of other things and writing about other topics. Most of the time when I go to a business to help them on social media the first question I get is:
"How can we get heaps of followers and likers?"
"I don't know.. just focus on being awesome and giving out amazing content.."
"What about buying followers?"
Ok so my perspective is simple - having a lot of likers, fans and followers does increase social proof. Nowadays a lot of people want to know that they are part of something that is remarkable. This is the result of an overly competitive environment. However it all boils down to the type of business person you want to be. I want to be the honest person with integrity. I don't want a fake business.
The other day I stumbled upon a post from an agency saying that they knew they had made it when they got to '10,000' followers on Twitter. So I decided to have a brief look through their followers - for an Australian based agency - they had a considerable amount of Indian and Vietnamese followers. It could be that in India and Vietnam they are suddenly very interested in the Australian market - allow me to have my own doubts. Personally, I find this practice disgraceful - the engagement is fake, the credit given to the business is fake and I doubt these people will use their services anytime soon. Of course this is not new - in the 80's people used to buy fake certificates, say that they are global when they are not etc.. We have created a marketplace which is so over-competitive that we are pushing businesses to be fake.
Online robotic reviews and Jane and John Doe recommendations are another very obvious fake social proof methods which businesses use all the time "We were super happy with the service. John and Jane". If you are going to publish testimonials on your site - try at least to find real ones or why not use two really good client relationships and create some case studies. Or even video one or two clients talking about your service.
Online reviews that are fake jump at you like a sore pimple when you surfing the net, they are robotic and often seem scripted. I complain about the service I got - oh what a coincidence I have 4 other customers with super generic names lining up to tell me what a great experience they have had - really? If you complain in a shop - have you ever seen 4 customers rock up and tell you that they have had an amazing experience?
Social Media marketing is about real conversations between your brand and people - posting fake reviews, buying followers or posting generic bland testimonials are all misleading to the consumer. Your business should be transparent, personable and real. When you are online focus on being awesome, giving out content which can really educate your market and keep at it.