Buying Instagram followers and Twitter followers is a very popular trend. In fact, the trend of buying followers online is as old as social media itself. Even when Myspace was popular, people would buy Myspace song plays to look more popular. Now, with every new social media platform also comes a new black market of sellers and websites selling fans and followers for cheap, for the sole purpose of increasing their clients’ perceived popularity.
Buying followers – A quick cheat
It all seems innocent and a quick ‘cheat’, but when it comes to politicians, it can be quite controversial when the public eye realizes that they are cheating their numbers. Back in 2012, Mitt Romney was accused of buying Twitter followers and this affected his presidential campaign in a negative way as many people see the purchase of followers as deceiving and dishonest act.
Political parties buying followers for their opponents
Now in 2014, most politicians are very careful about this, and prefer to not buy Instagram followers or Twitter followers, but to build them naturally instead. But another problem rose: It is very easy for a political party to purchase followers for their opponents, and then call the media to accuse their opponents of cheating their numbers. In fact, this is what happened recently when Australian prime minister Tony Abott was accused of buying followers in Australia. This is a technique used to smear the opponent’s campaign.
Fans buying followers for their favorite politicians
Even if the actual political party realizes that buying followers on Instagram is a bad idea, some of their supporters might purchase Instagram followers or Twitter followers for them thinking it might help, but as we can see in the long run it does more damage than good. Although purchasing Twitter and Instagram followers may be a good thing in the music and film industry it is not perceived as so when it comes to politics. As these actions are often scrutinized and frowned upon.
Why social media is important for everyone including politicians
Today everyone seems to be glue to their phone or other electronic devices. Being popular of social media is as important for politicians as it is for any other public figure as it can really increase their popularity if social media marketing is down correctly. Remember at the end of the day a politician is also a brand. The more awareness they can generate the more likely they will succeed with their campaigns. It is also a great way to connect with the younger generation who usually do not have as much of an interest in politics. Being on Instagram and Twitter makes politicians more relatable. Knowing this, many politicians keep updated Instagram and Twitter profiles, which sometimes fall victim to opponents buying followers to tarnish their reputation.
Politicians should refrain from buying followers altogether and have a dedicated team monitoring their social profiles. By not purchasing Instagram and Twitter followers they will be seen as more honest and likeable, which means more popularity and more votes, concluding in a more successful campaign.