Six reasons why lawyers should never buy Twitter followers
By Jana Schilder
With Twitter, and all other social media, what lawyers are really after is increasing their reputation on social networks as well as increasing “likes” and “shares.” It’s about expanding your reach to get real leads and referral sources. And of course, the mother lode: everyone wants their content to “go viral.”
In a world where everything is for sale — and frequently on sale — is it a good idea for lawyers to buy Twitter followers?
Don’t do it; here are six reasons why not:
1. Buying Twitter followers is bad ethics.
Notwithstanding referral fees among lawyers, which are allowed by the Law Society of Upper Canada, is it good business practice to buy leads or clients? As officers of the court, lawyers would be wise to think carefully before getting out their credit cards to buy Twitter followers. If you buy Twitter followers, you are violating the Terms of Service of Twitter; just saying.
2. Not all “Twitter Followers for Sale” sites are created equal.
Some sites sell you Twitter accounts that are nothing more than a photo (fake) and a username (fake also). In other words, dead accounts: these people will never re-tweet anything you post. But your overall follower account increases.
Other sites will sell you real accounts, with real people behind them that re-tweet everything you post on Twitter. That’s all they do. Many of these are based in the Philippines where thousands of people hold the job title of: Twitter Re-Tweeter. Really.
Shady Twitter-follower sellers will populate your account with either porn or spam, or both. These are the worst kind because, for a variety of reasons, bots attract other bots. Soon, you’ll have a Twitter account that is totally useless. There is much activity there, lots of “re-tweets” and “likes,” but don’t look to your Twitter account for any real, live, actionable leads.
Still other sites will take charge of your Twitter account, using your username and login information, to follow thousands of legitimate followers with the hope that a certain small percentage will legitimately follow you back. It becomes a make-work project. In reality, you’re paying someone to spam other accounts to follow you on Twitter.
You should also ask yourself: who am I trying to impress? Other lawyers? My referral sources? Reporters? (Reporters are a cynical bunch and may start to sniff around your Twitter account.) You’re spending money to impress others by the thousands and tens of thousands of Twitter, to what end? As many have observed lately, Twitter is turning into a free subscription to junk email.
In all cases, whether fake accounts, hijacked accounts or legitimate accounts, they all act as probes by monitoring what content is being shared by you. And in a world where data is the new currency, they can trade this information to anyone who wants to buy it: advertisers or spammers.
3. Does buying Twitter followers actually work?
Lawyers want more real leads that result in more initial consultations, that lead to real live paying clients. That’s the endgame. If your reputation doesn’t increase over time, it’s not a good idea. If your “likes” and “shares” don’t increase over time, then it’s wasted effort.
If you’re buying Twitter followers, you are stacking the deck in your favour for “likes” and “shares.” In reality, it takes plenty of money for content to “go viral,” almost as much as traditional advertising in magazines, newspapers and television. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for content to “go viral,” as only a minuscule percentage of content does this organically, without money changing hands. That’s what the media don’t tell you.
4. Once your Twitter feed is polluted by bots, porn and followers you didn’t legitimately get, your account is pretty useless.
Good luck trying to tap it to do anything else, such as market newsletters from your firm, webinars, or in-person events, because there are no real people to receive your communication, just bots and spammers.
5. Buying Twitter followers is a credibility killer.
Lawyers, like public relations professionals, live and die by their reputations. Prospective clients will look at you with skepticism at best and disdain at worst if they find out that you bought Twitter followers. You’ll be regarded as a fraud.
6. You’ll be found out.
How does the story leak, you ask? There’s an app for that! Check out https://fakers.statuspeople.com. It analyzes Twitter followers into categories: Good, Inactive and Fake. In 30 seconds, you can cure yourself of “Twitter follower envy” when you realize that the vast majority of a lawyer’s Twitter account is bogus. Like a pumpkin at Christmas, it may still look good on the outside, but it’s rotten on the inside.
What should you do instead?
Be popular outside of Twitter, by cultivating a reputation to advocate for something, or advocate against something. There is no such thing as free lunch. You actually have to do the work.
Or, tap media like newspapers, magazines, and television to promote your cause and your Twitter account by extension. Here are legitimate ways to build your Twitter account.