Just for the record, what we’re actually talking about here is purely quantitative social proof.
Hiring influencers at any price to sing the praises of your products, services or brand in general has the potential to work wonders. And it’s a tactic that’s been used by the biggest businesses in the world for generations. After all, do you really think all those perfumes and aftershaves were designed and approved by the Hollywood A-Listers they’re named after?
Of course not – using influencers to sell your brand is something every business could benefit from.
But as these kinds of investments are completely out of reach for most, many businesses decide instead to turn to a different kind of social proof purchasing. Facebook Likes, YouTube video views, Twitter followers, Instagram impressions and countless others besides. Right now, it’s never been easier to buy these kinds of social signals in spectacular quantities for next to nothing.
The question being – is it really a good idea?
Those who advocate these kinds of services insist that given the competition on every popular social media platform, it’s a case of survival of the fittest. Meaning that whatever avenues you explore to make your voice heard, so be it.
They also argue that purchasing this kind of social proof simply represents a starting point upon which to begin building more organic success. You buy social proof, others take notice of your apparent popularity and are more likely to take you seriously. Thus, more likely to begin following you of their own accord.
In essence therefore, it’s an argument that centres on the fact that purchasing social proof on this side of the spectrum is simply about making your voice heard. After which, it’s a case of letting the quality of whatever it is you have to offer do the talking on your behalf.
On the flipside of the coin, critics insist that buying fake and fraudulent approval on social media is exactly that – fraudulent. As most businesses work hard to gradually build audiences and authority, it is entirely unethical for new and existing businesses alike to ‘cheat’ the system.
There’s also the argument that it’s exactly these kinds of services that are slowly but surely eroding the perceived value of social signals in general. After all, if it’s possible to buy 10,000 YouTube plays for £10, 100,000 plays earned organically don’t necessarily come across as impressive.
Aside from the moral argument, critics also point out the fact that to delve into these kinds of tactics is to put your profile and your professional image on the line. If busted – either by the platform itself or its users – you could be in for heavy penalisation, or even the closure of your account.
Worldwide, more businesses than ever before are buying this kind of social proof to boost their profiles and performance in general. Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily make it a recommended course of action in any sense of the word.
On one hand, you might not technically be breaking any laws and could argue that you are simply giving yourself the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. On the other, you’re standing out from the crowd by faking it and run the risk of having your profile and your reputation wiped from the face of the earth.
We’ll let you decide!