4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Social Media Followers

social media

Social media startup tips from George Chilton, Creative Director of Hubbub Labs.

If you have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account, you’ve probably bumped into a bot or two. You may have even received messages from them offering you thousands of new social media followers, or dozens of fake likes a day, for a couple of hundred dollars. While most people ignore it, this can be tempting if you represent a brand, especially when your demanding boss expects you to grow your company’s online communities and “increase engagement”.

But don’t do it.

Buying followers is like making a presentation and filling half the auditorium with cardboard cutout people. It looks good when you take a selfie from the stage, but the applause is pretty weak.

It’s far better to have a small group of engaged followers, who represent your target market, than thousands of random accounts who pay you no attention.

So please, for the love of Zuckerberg, don’t make this horrible social media mistake. Here are 4 reasons why you should never buy online followers:

1. Fake social media followers hurt your marketing objectives

Think about why you set up a social media account in the first place. You want to be there for your customers, reach a wider audience with your content, potentially advertise your services, and talk to real people. It’s great branding and helps build your reputation.

Now imagine, for a moment, that instead of your customers, their friends and wider networks, you have a series of fake accounts following you.

What value will you give them? Absolutely none. At the end of the day it’s a vanity project that helps no-one but the people getting paid to follow you.

2. Zero engagement kills your visibility

Fake followers suck; they won’t ask you questions, they won’t like or share your posts and they certainly won’t get or give any value. All they’re doing is swelling your numbers and lowering your engagement ratio.

The numbers might look good at first glance, but this lower engagement ratio means your content will get rated lower by social media algorithms, and will therefore be less visible to real followers.

Fake likes don’t count as engagement, either. See what Facebook has to say about it:

Facebook takes into account Page engagement rates when deciding when and where to deliver a Page’s legitimate adverts and content, so Pages with artificially inflated like counts are harming themselves, making it more difficult and more expensive to reach the people they care about most — https://www.facebook.com/business/a/page/fake-likes

3. Buying fake social media followers and likes harms your reputation

You wouldn’t pay actors to come to your dinner party and pretend to be your friends. It would be humiliating if you were ever caught. The same goes for buying fake followers.

First of all, like fake dinner guests, fake accounts are obvious. They:

  • Are clearly not part of your target audience
  • Often tweet or post in unrelated languages
  • Probably live on the other side of the world
  • May have no photos (or weird photos)

Once you’ve been rumbled, people will have a hard time trying to trust you. Not only does it make you look vain, it shows that you’re desperate and unable to run a valuable social media account (I mean, who are you trying to kid, Donald?).

4. Breaking the rules could get you banned

Every platform has its own terms of service. Buy buying fake followers and likes you could well find yourself in hot water. Having a suspended personal account looks bad, having a suspended brand account is worse – particularly when you’re being paid to run it.

Twitter, for example, may temporarily block or permanently ban you from using the service if:

You are selling or purchasing account interactions (such as selling or purchasing followers, Retweets, likes, etc.).

You are using or promoting third-party services or apps that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising “more followers fast”, or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account).

Source: https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311

Don’t take the short cut

A strong social media following can take time to build. Aim to deliver consistent value to your audiences you’ll begin to see more engagement. Speak to real people, ask questions and lead the conversation.

Tell us how you get along – you can get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

 

Barcelona and Startups: “Emprendimiento” a Free Lunch Podcast with Corpore Wear

 

Barcelona Podcast

By George Chilton, Creative Director of Hubbub Labs, a content and digital marketing agency based in Barcelona.

 

Earlier this year, I was honoured to take part in an interview with Mike Manganillo. I was invited on his excellent Free Lunch podcast alongside entrepreneur and writer Michael Thomson, co-owner of Corpore Wear.

We had a great time talking about Barcelona, Silicon Valley, the risks and rewards of Entrepreneurship – and much more.

Listen on SoundCloud

Read more about Barcelona on The Next Web

In this article in The Next Web, I expand on our points in the podcast. I take a look at how the Barcelona startup scene is different to Silicon Valley:

Barcelona isn’t the next Silicon Valley – and that’s a good thing.

Here you can read more about the challenges that Spain faces as a country and the leaps and bounds Barcelona has taken in recent years. I also go into the initiatives, funding and programmes available for startups in the city. And you can read about what Sançar Şahin, the Director of marketing at Typeform has to say about Barcelona, and why it will never be Silicon Valley (but really, we don’t want it to be).

About Corpore Wear

Corpore Wear manufactures and sells a posture enhancing undershirt. The company was founded around 3 years ago in Barcelona by Michael’s business partner, Albert Moreno. The Italian-made shirts work wonders by gently coaxing you into sitting and standing with good posture. Not only do you look better when you put one on, but you feel better, exuding confidence and improving your body language at the same time.

The best thing about Corpore Wear’s undershirt, in my opinion, is that they are unintrusive and comfortable – yet they have an immediate effect on your well-being.

The shirts are available to buy in the U.S. and Europe:

USA: http://corporewear.us/

Europe: http://corporewear.com/en

Follow Corpore Wear:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/corporewear/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/corporewear/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/corporewear?lang=en

About Free Lunch by Clean Publishing

Mike Manganillo’s free podcast dives into a whole range of topics, from startups, entrepreneurship, marketing, even beer and SXSW.

Expect fun, irreverent chats, with lots of interesting questions (he kept us on our toes). I’ve come to be a big fan of the show and I highly recommend listening on the drive home…or during your lunch hour, of course.

Follow the Free Lunch Podcast:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FreeLunch_Show

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/cleanpublishing

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/free-lunch/

 

Let us know what you think. Have you based your business in Barcelona or would you consider relocating here?

 

Startup Academy: Downloadable Press Release Template

Press releases can get your featured in the media

By George Chilton, Creative Director of Hubbub Labs, a content and digital marketing agency based in Barcelona.

In our previous Startup Academy article we showed you how to write a press release. Due to popular demand, here is a downloadable template for general product launches and startup news. The Google Document can be viewed here: Downloadable Press Release Template.

Press release recap:

  1. Keep your releases short, sharp and to the point
  2. Lead with the most important information, add details as the press release progresses
  3. Don’t use jargon or media buzzwords, it is off-putting and unnecessary
  4. Don’t try to sell your product to the journalist, but do outline key features
  5. Tie your news into a current trend or story
  6. Make the most of your social proof (reputation) and link founders’ names to relevant professional profiles (e.g. LinkedIn)
  7. Ensure your service is clear and easy to understand and that you differentiate it from the competition
  8. Outline your company mission and make it compelling
  9. Use industry context to show where you fit in and why your company is important. Back up any claims with trustworthy links
  10. Use strong, media friendly quotes
  11. Put key company information in your About boilerplate

A quick note on reaching out to the media

Journalists have very little time to read and evaluate your news stories. Ensure that you are targeting the right reporter; each writer has a beat, or specialism, and they will ignore stories that fall outside of their remits. Also make sure that your pitch is personalised, and explains exactly why your story is important and of interest to them.

If you get traction, be prepared to make yourself available to interview and add further details. Journalists will do their own research, and often need more background from company leaders.

Read more about talking to journalists and pitching your press releases and articles to editors in George Chilton’s Entrepreneur Magazine article 5 Things Entrepreneurs Should Never Say to Journalists.

Before you go!

If you would like help writing a press release and pitching it to relevant media contacts the Hubbub Labs team is here to help. 

 

Downloadable Press Release Template.

The one key metric guaranteed to help your startup grow

Help your startup grow with


Are your clients saying good things about your startup? Let’s find out.

Metrics bring targets, focus, and scary pivots to startup teams. George Chilton, Creative Director of Hubbub Labs and prolific tea drinker, looks at one metric he believes could be the difference between life, death and impressive growth at your startup.

 

When I’m at parties people often approach me and ask, “George, what’s your favourite business metric?”

Okay, that’s never happened. Firstly, I don’t go to parties, and if I did, people wouldn’t approach me. Regardless, I’m here to tell you about Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

The NPS is an effective metric for startups, SMEs and enterprises, because it boils down how well you are serving your clients. What’s more, it’s not pie in the sky. According to the Harvard Business Review, your NPS directly correlates with growth.

So what are Net Promoter Scores, exactly? And why do they work so well?

Your company’s NPS can range anything from -100 to 100. The higher the number, the happier (and more evangelical) your client base is.

Finding out your NPS is, understandably, a little nerve-wracking, especially if you own a new business or startup. It’s akin to turning on the house lights in a theatre; you’re either going to see happy smiling faces, or a bunch of angry people about to hurl tomatoes.

But whatever the result, it gives you a solid baseline to work from, and a chance to dodge those rotten vegetables.

NPS enables you to focus on your clients and their needs, which is especially great news for startup CEOs and founders, who find it increasingly difficult to stay on track as their startups grow.

How do I calculate my company’s NPS?

Like all the best metrics, it’s stark and to the point.

First, survey a statistically significant sample of your clients – or contact them all, if you’re a smaller company. Simply ask:

On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our service to your friends or colleagues?

Then, deciding whether someone is a detractor (D), neutral (N), or a promoter (P) is simply a matter of looking at their score. If a client responds with anything from 0-6 he or she is a detractor, 7-8 and your client is neutral, 9-10 means he or she is a promoter.

Finally, to calculate your company-wide score, simply take away the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. Here’s an example:

You have 1000 results. 200 results ranged from 0-6; 300 were from 7-8; the remaining 500 were in the 9-10 bracket.

Your percentages would be as follows:

20% – D
30% – N
50% – P

PD = NPS

So here your NPS is 30.

Easy right? So easy it’s worth doing right now.

How do I know if my score is good or bad?

Your score can be positive, or negative, even zero – and the higher it is, the better your company is serving client needs and exceeding expectations.

Context is everything, so if you want to see how you fare against your competition, SurveyMonkey offers industry benchmarks.

What do I do now?

  1. Run the survey and make NPS a company focus. Each department should be aware of the NPS and its consequences.
  2. Strive to increase this metric. It will focus your team – at all levels – on seeing things from the customer perspective.
  3. Rinse and repeat. Regardless of your current NPS, if you focus on pushing it up, you will see improvement in feedback, UX, revenue, referrals, reviews, and a whole range of good things.

 

The startup sneak factor: 3 tactics used by famous companies to supercharge their growth

Startups are sneaky...sometimes

In this article Hubbub Labs Creative Director George Chilton takes a break from drinking tea to look at the startup sneak factor, delving into some devious growth tactics and hacks used by PayPal, Uber, and SnapChat.

If I asked you to describe yourself in three words and one of them was “sneaky”, I’d be quite worried. It’s a character description that most of us avoid because it suggests that we’re untrustworthy. Putting a positive spin on the word, we might be able to call it “ingenious”. Nevertheless, there is sometimes an element of this in business – especially in the early stages of startup growth.

When you look at industry giants like SnapChat, PayPal, and Uber, it’s hard to imagine that they once struggled to get traction. Of course, they all provide a valuable service to their clients, but that’s not nearly enough to make it in an on-demand world with millions of apps, fintech solutions and transport options. They needed edge, or some kind of growth hack.

Here’s a summary of how these companies used some clever marketing tactics to explode their user numbers and grow in a very short period of time.

1. Create artificial demand like PayPal

When it rains in Barcelona the entrances to the metro stations fill with enterprising locals selling umbrellas for twice their standard price. These people are exploiting, quite rightly, the principle of demand. When it’s sunny and warm (which is very often here), no one ever thinks of buying an umbrella.

But as you trudge up those concrete steps and see a dark grey sky, and a slippery floor, you know you’re in for a drenching. Sometimes it’s hard – despite knowing you have three umbrellas at home – not to shell out for one and arrive to your destination dry.

These sellers have reacted to a situation that is profitable to them. They are leveraging brief and intense demand for something that everyone needs. It’s a good business move, but there is another way to do this though – and that is to create artificial demand.

Before you get your hose pipes out and stock up on umbrellas, hear me out.

Artificial demand is required when creating a 2-sided marketplace. Imagine you wanted to market a service like eBay, for example. There you must attract both buyers and sellers at the same time. Without a market to sell to, sellers won’t sign up. Without products, consumers can’t, well, consume. It’s a chicken and egg problem, well discussed in business.

The (now) world-famous money transfer solution PayPal was in a similar situation. It needed to create an artificial demand for its service in order for it to become popular and mainstream. The company decided it would pay eBay sellers (in a manner of speaking) to use its service.

PayPal employed bots to purchase items from thousands eBay sellers, each time requesting PayPal as a method of payment. Sellers, not wishing to lose out on sales, obviously created accounts with the service.

It was an undoubtedly sneaky ingenious way of forcing the market’s hand – creating an immediate, yet artificial need for the service. Of course, once PayPal was established, people saw its advantages and it began to take off.

You can read more about this in Eric M. Jackson’s Paypal Wars, which I’m sure you can also purchase on eBay.

2. Apologise, don’t ask permission like Snapchat

SnapChat, an app which I am thoroughly too old for, went viral because of its ingenious and somewhat devious early referral system.

When you download a social app and you already have contacts that use the service, you can often find them, add them as friends, or interact with them. If your friends are not on the service, they generally don’t appear.

In its early days, however, Snapchat, displayed contact lists from Facebook without differentiating whether each person used the service or not. So, when a snapchatter sent a photo to an uninitiated party, SnapChat would send a message inviting them to sign up in order to receive the image.

As a result, millions of invitations were inadvertently sent to non-Snapchat users. Of course, no harm was done – users only signed up if they wanted. But it was a brilliantly in-built viral mechanism that certainly added to the app’s viral growth.

This differs vastly from the early days of email spamming, which we saw from platforms like Linkedin. Sending emails to hundreds of your professional contacts requesting that they sign up seemed far more intrusive that a cheeky invitation to see a fun photo. In fact, the company, which is now owned by Microsoft, had to pay out $13 million in an out of court settlement to a class action lawsuit in 2015.

3. Divide and conquer like Uber

The final example really is underhanded. Back in 2014 (a million years ago in tech company time), when Uber was beginning to really take off all around the world, it decided to aggressively target competitor Lyft by ordering and then cancelling “more than 5000 rides”, according to CNN.

By disrupting the service on such a large scale, the company allegedly hoped to attract Lyft drivers to its service.

Of course, having been uncovered by CNN, this tactic was dropped and the company suggested in a statement to the press that it may have been third party recruiters:

“We…recently ran a program where thousands of riders recruited drivers from many platforms, earning hundreds of dollars in Uber credits for each driver who tries Uber.”

More recently, in a rather poetic turn of events, Indian competitor Ola has been accused of doing the same to Uber, however on a much, much larger scale. Uber claims that Ola made around 90,000 fake accounts on the platform, and requested and cancelled drivers – causing massive disruption and serious financial losses.

There are clearly pros and cons to growth by sneak. Resorting to sabotage is rarely a good thing, and the outcome for Uber was questionable at best. On the other hand, both SnapChat and PayPal solved some significant problems during early stage growth and overcame the tricky chicken and egg problem that many service industry businesses face.

While sneak might get your foot in the door, it won’t get you inside, so make sure if you do take this route, you also have some substance and other solid growth tactics up your sleeve.