It seems Kyle and Jackie O from Sydney’s 2DayFM have caused quite a stir in the Twittersphere. AdNews reported yesterday they have been accused of buying a virtual rent-a-crowd, gaining 30,000 Twitter followers in under 18 hours, and artificially inflating their importance on the social network. Looking at their current friend list, their 5 most recent followers have no profile picture, no followers and have never posted a tweet, which seems to add some credibility to the story. Tech blogs have been recently reporting that 100,000 Twitter followers can be bought for as little as $3,500 from companies that specialise in building ‘artificial popularity’.
kyleandjackieo ‘s response this morning to the article was:
Memo2SydConfidential.2day u ran an article suggesting we”bought”our followers.We said it wasnt true,u ran it anyway!Get ur facts str8 4 once
Whether the story is 100% accurate or not, the question must be asked: what is the true value of a ‘friend’ or ‘follower’? Is it better to have 500 brand activists, lovers and enthusiasts? Or 500,000 people who have a vague affinity with your brand but take no action, purchase none of your products, or attend none of your events?
The most important role of social media is adding value to the consumer; amplifying the ‘bought’ media messages and leveraging the ‘owned’ assets of the brand with more ways for more people to interact with your brand. Regardless of how many unique browsers it drives to your website, comments or brand mentions it generates, or product units it sells, if the brand’s social media strategy is designed to add consumer value and align the energy and output of the organisation, then it has every chance of succeeding.
On the contrary, ‘buying’ followers or pushing people to visit your site/blog/Twitter (but then giving nothing) is like a man throwing money off a rooftop in a bid to buy friends – if there is no ongoing ‘value’ in being their friend or follower after the initial lure, why would I continue to associate with them?