You Can Buy Followers, But You Can’t Buy Social Media Love

"Sure, I'll Like you on Facebook...if the price is right."

“Sure, I’ll Like you on Facebook…if the price is right.”

Everyone wants to be the “cool” dentist, the one who has hundreds of Likes and a string of followers to re-tweet their updates. You know that a strong social media presence will benefit your practice by increasing your visibility and generating word of mouth. The only problem? It’s been months since you created your Facebook page, but you still have only a handful of fans. Perhaps, you think, our lack of followers makes us seem uncool. You have two options to boost your social media presence. You can do it the right way, integrating social media and blogging into your current marketing strategy, or you can do it the Newt Gingrich way.

You Mean the Wrong Way?

Exactly. In 2011, the Gingrich PR machine decided that his paltry Twitter following was unworthy of a Presidential candidate. Instead of using social media to engage, entertain, and inform voters, someone took a shortcut and paid for nearly 1 million followers. Gingrich was left with egg on his face after a staff member alerted the press to the fact that 92% of his followers were dummy accounts-for-hire. These accounts, which you can purchase on dozens of websites, are typically generated en masse and lack user photos, valid email addresses, comments, and updates.

Is Padding Your Numbers Really That Bad?

Consider:

  • Social media analytics lose all functionality, because you can’t analyze an imaginary friend. You have no way to determine what works and what doesn’t.
  • The number of followers has negligible influence over whether a user will subscribe to your updates. More important are the quality, frequency, and variety of your content.
  • A large number of followers who don’t comment, share, Like, or post to your profile affects your rate of engagement, raising red flags in the eyes of legitimate social media users.  The fact that someone “Likes” your page doesn’t automatically make it likeable.
  • It’s dishonest. Period.

Social media isn’t a numbers game. I admit that I feel a surge of pride each time MDPM gains a new fan (Hint, hint), but the value of social media stems from opportunities to build long-term relationships with current and would-be patients. Quantitative data, such as what you find in Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, only goes so far.

About the Author: With her winsome personality and affinity for cat pictures, Jill Nastasia, CEO of MDPM Consulting, doesn’t have to worry about buying Facebook friends to look cool. Sometimes she gets tired of people offering to pay her to be their Facebook friend. She’s turned down Mark Zuckerberg at least 4 times now. That guy never gives up.