Generally there are two schools of thought when it comes to social media and marketing…
1. It’s a numbers game.
“Blast out the content to every platform, to as many people as you can – the more the better!”
2. Quality over Quantity.
“Strive for better engagement, continuously.”
If you know me, you know what camp I’m in, right?
Did you also know I do a bunch of work for various PR and Marketing firms? I do. And guess what camp they fall into? Yup. But I work with them anyways.
Here’s something you probably don’t know. Some PR firms use their influence and $$$ to artificially bump up the numbers of their clients. (of course not all firms do)
It’s our fault. As humans we sometimes assign quality to a quantity. When we see massive numbers we assume they must have earned or deserved that kind of following.
But did they?
Those PR and Marketing firms do some sneaky stuff to make their clients look good. If the client has something they want promoted, they’ll contact bloggers in that industry and ask them to write articles on the topic. But hey, that’s not sneaky – that’s just good PR. I get requests each and every day.
They also have a network of bloggers that they’ll PAY to write favorable articles. Still not sneaky, right?
And then… Individuals who work for the firm will find sites to ‘Guest Blog’ on – and guess what they’ll write about? That’s a bit more sneaky, isn’t it? They also have their own sites that look like everyday blogs in which they can write whatever they want and link back to the source.
Why would they do that?
Google likes sites that have links pointing to it – so if a bunch of outside sites link back to their clients site, Google places their client up higher in the search engine. Google does look at the page authority of the referring site, how many times that post is shared and other things in an effort to combat this tactic. But, it’s also a numbers game.
The next thing might happen is that the Agency starts buying social shares.
You can buy anything on the interwebs! No, really. You can buy Shares, LIKES, Followers, even VIDEO Testimonials! Seriously – and it’s NOT expensive!
On social media – all it takes to create an account is an email. That means I could create hundreds of accounts an hour. Each could have a unique identity but none of them being a ‘real person’ (think: LonelyGirl15). With thousands and thousands of profiles available, if you wanted to buy LIKES I could then sell my army of bots to LIKE anything I directed them to do. This happens every day.
The going price for a MILLION followers on Instagram was just $3,750 (NY Times) that’s chump change in serious marketing budget.
Recently, Instagram purged it’s system of Profiles just like this.
What happened next might have surprised a few people…
Justin Bieber lost 5 million followers, 15% of his total, and Kim Kardashian lost 1.3 million. Rapper Mase reportedly dropped to 100,000 followers from 1.6 million in a 20-minute span and then deleted his account.
But now that you know, you know exactly what happened and who’s to blame. It wasn’t Bieber, it was his marketing team.
So the next time you see some fabulous numbers of a competitor and think how wonderful it would be to have all those followers… think again.
Side Note: If you are one of those people who have multiple profiles in Facebook because you wanted to keep your friends and business people separate – they’ll soon be purging those too! I would recommend picking one and deleting the other. When they decide to start deleting accounts they’ll just delete both of yours and not think twice about it.