Most independent musicians primarily share four common goals: build their awareness, get their music heard by fans, increase their sales income (including live ticket revenue, albums, singles, merchandise, etc.) and lastly, to be supported and/or signed by a major label. Social media now provides independent musicians the opportunity to reach all of the common goals mentioned above with the right strategy and of course, great music.
The domination of social media, unfortunately, has led many musicians to believe that purchasing fake followers for vanity purposes is in their best interest. Sadly, they often do not realize the negative impact these actions can take on their careers. After nearly two decades of the social media age, nearly everyone is savvy enough to spot whether a musician’s following is real or not. It may be tempting to purchase 2,000 followers for $5, but this short-term “win” will affect your music career long-term. These 2,000 fake followers will never buy anything, and in fact, they will leave four negative impacts on your music career.
Here are four ramifications of buying fake followers:
Reduction In Music Listeners
Undiscovered musicians generally should be trying to get their music in front of listeners and then getting those listeners to share their music with family and friends. Social media has made this deceptively easy.
Real followers will increase the reach of your music and drive traffic from social media to Spotify, VEVO, iTunes, etc. Fake followers will not. You can not build your audience or engagement if your content is landing in front of fake accounts.
Facebook and Instagram algorithms already affect your content’s reach, so it’s important to make sure your content is reaching real followers who actually engage. Many accounts are seeing their content only reach between 2-10% of their fans. Imagine having 20,000 fans, but your content is only reaching 2,000 – and of that 2,000, 60% are fake. That leaves your music being seen by only 800 real fans. Unfortunately, the fans who actually enjoy your music may never hear it due to your fake followers. This, of course, impacts your streaming income, digital sales, and VEVO/YouTube views. Receiving 100 real fan engagements will have a greater impact on your music career than 10,000 fake followers.
Negatively Impacted Artist Reputation
Record labels, venue managers, online users, and fans will notice immediately if your following is inauthentic. Labels and venue managers will review your social media before taking meetings, especially if you’re looking to book a gig. You can jeopardize your reputation with fraudulent activity. Plus, it’s extremely embarrassing to have 50,000 followers with only 50 users liking your content.
As a rule of thumb -– the smaller your following is, the higher your engagement rate should be. With only a few hundred to thousand followers, your engagement rate should fall between 7-10%. A rate of 3-4% is the average rate for accounts with hundreds of thousands and millions of fans.
For example – in 2014, Instagram purged millions of fake accounts. It left many musicians looking like fools when 90% of their followers disappeared, leaving their reputations tarnished afterward.
Loss of Money and Partnership Opportunities
Once you begin to build an authentic, niche following, brands will approach you for partnership opportunities. The good news is you no longer need hundreds of thousands of followers to monetize your social media accounts. Whether you become a micro-influencer (anywhere from 10,000 followers to 99,000 followers) or macro-influencer (100,000+ followers), you can make money leveraging your social media audience to help finance your music career.
The number one metric they will monitor is your engagement rate. If you’ve purchased fake followers, your engagement will be extremely low, and they will lose interest immediately. Influencer Marketing has become extremely lucrative, with some influencers making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. One of our own clients cleared over $500K in 2016 alone.
Delay In Fan Growth
You can kiss the idea of your music “going viral” if there’s no one sharing it. You can not build your audience or engagement if your content is landing in front of fake accounts. Engagement builds awareness, which in return builds fans and followers. When your content is being placed in front of fake accounts, it becomes difficult to build your audience since there’s no real engagement attached.
I understand the importance of having a large following and also believe engagement and exceptional content can cure all social media growth issues.
The affordable music marketing program we offer to indie musicians takes a very strategic approach: identifying fan demographics, keyword analyses, and analytic mapping to position our musicians in front of real users who show interest in their music. WE NEVER PURCHASE FAKE FOLLOWERS. EVERY musician who has trusted MeauxGul has noticed an increase in engagement, which in turn has increased their followers – the right way.
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