Accusations that Newt Gingrich was buying Twitter followers brought the practice to the public’s attention at the end of last year. Surely a presidential candidate would be influential enough that he didn’t need to buy followers, no?
But with many celebrities and organizations coming to the online party unfashionably late, the temptation to jump-start a fresh account must be huge. No one wants to be in that awkward zero to 100 follower stage.
Though friend-culling on Facebook became popular in recent years, Twitter remains very much a numbers game. Profiles with few followers find it harder to grow because many people associate the number with quality of engagement and discussion.
I’m guilty of looking at a person’s number of followers to determine whether he or she is worth following. Someone could have great content and interesting insights, yet struggle to find an audience without a preexisting base of followers. In that case, buying followers can help boost organic growth.
Recently, I started a Twitter profile for my blog, The Corporate Lunchbox, which provided the perfect opportunity to experiment with buying followers. I tweeted the following on April 16, and the experiment began: