Blogging Basics- Social Media: Cant Buy The Love

In addition to writing and teaching about sex, one of the things I enjoy doing professionally is helping other develop their careers writing and teaching about sex. To this end I co-teach a class with Epiphora called The Business of Blogging About Sex. One section of this class focuses entirely on social media while the class has grown and expanded over the years and now contains more actionable information than ever, there’s a point that we put in when we first created the class that we’ve never wavered on: DON’T BUY FOLLOWERS.

Why Is This A Thing?

When folks start out they often want to get from “Brand New Beginner” to “Established Reputable Site” as quickly as possible and some folks think that a large social media following will help them accomplish that goal. Then, when they see they can buy Facebook likes, for example, that there are sites that make building large following as quick and easy as a few clicks and a payment, it seems like an obvious solution. I understand this line of thinking, though I do think it has some steps mixed up- while a large social media following can come with building an established reputable site, I don’t think lots of followers = good site- and, in general, as a plan, has a couple of major flaws in it. So, let’s take a look at why, when it comes to social media, you can’t buy the love.

What You Are Buying

What are you buying when you buy “likes”? Simply put, you are buying a higher number next to your account name. So, does that matter? Okay, I’ll be perfectly honest, there is ONE circumstance where I use my social media follower numbers, that’s when I’m pitching myself for things like sponsorships but, honestly, I wouldn’t have gotten to the point where I was professionally able to do things like that if I hadn’t spent time having my content shared, read, promoted etc by REAL followers. What’s the difference? Real followers engage with you. They are there because they like what you do, they pay attention and click your links. They give you site traffic. They give you support. Fake followers are, well, numbers on your social media accounts, that’s it. Social media followers need to be more than just a number, they need to be active engaged followers. Beyond that, the number is just an ego stroke and I’m pretty sure there are ways to stroke our egos that don’t involve paying people. Seriously, go post a selfie, I’ll say nice things about it!

What You Are Paying With

Let’s be blunt here, you pay for these “likes” with your integrity and not on a “well, you have to live with yourself” way but in a public “people may now trust you way less” way. We’re talking about social media here so we’re not talking about you doing something you feel personally okay about and it not being anyone else’s business, you are now doing things publicly  (I’m not saying that’s wrong or right, it just is).  You may think that no one will notice if you buy followers because people have more important things to worry about, right? WELL… believe it or not, people are paying attention. A while back there was a little brouhaha on the outskirts of my social media circle. A new account suddenly amassed thousands of followers and someone not only took note but put that account on blast, publicly accusing them of having employed a service to buy their new numbers. It turned out they hadn’t (they had engaged in some other shenanigans that are questionable but involved no actual purchasing) but we all learned that people will notice and if you do something shady (like buy your likes) your integrity will be called into question in an extremely public manner. Not a good way to start a career.

So, What Do You Do Instead?

This one is simple! Get out there! Follow people who do what you do. See who they follow and follow those people. Write things and link to people in those things. When you post those things, tag the people you’ve linked to. Participate in stuff like Follow Friday (#FF) and popular hashtags or try and make a hashtag happen (I have always failed at this myself but folks with much smaller followings than mine have had HUGE success with it). Basically, just go do your thing and make some effort to let people know you are doing it. People will notice. Then people will notice those people noticing. Before you know it you will have a real, honest to goodness following. Because you are awesome.


This post contains sponsored links. The opinions in it are, as always, my own.



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