If you’ve been looking into the blogger / influencer industry you’ve probably come across articles or general chatter about bloggers and buying their following. Yes, it does happen – but what exactly does that mean?
Typically “buying followers” means that a blogger works with an agency that owns thousands of accounts and for a fee these agency owned accounts will follow the blogger. In general this practice is frowned up and is losing popularity. An easy way to determine if an account has a legitimate following without having access to their insights is to look at their engagement – accounts over 1,000 followers with an authentic following will have at least a 2% engagement rate. For large accounts (100K followers or more) it’s closer to 1%. If there is a blogger you are interested in working with but you aren’t sure about the authenticity of their following you can and should request their reach (this is the number of views a post receives)
An increasingly common practice for bloggers to grow their following is participating in “loop giveaways”. These giveaways are typically run by a 3rd party account and the blogger will pay a buy in towards a large prize with a group of similar bloggers with each blogger promoting the giveaway on their account – to enter to win the prize users must follow each account hosting the giveaway. There are some individuals (including some within the Memphis blogger community – keep in mind this post is from the perspective of the author and bloggers behind Memphis Blogger Collective) who consider this to be “buying followers” but we would argue that it is merely a form of advertisement.
Participating in a giveaway does not guarantee a blogger any number of followers – the followers gained during a giveaway are real individuals who opt in to participate and have no obligation to continue to follow the blogger once the giveaway is complete. It is up to the blogger to create the kind of content that these new followers will find to be entertaining, informative, and inspirational and stick around for. When you see a blogger participating in a giveaway you should see if as a sign that they are making a financial commitment to their business and take their business seriously.
Rather than concerning yourself with where a blogger’s following came from you should be more concerned with who their followers are and how engaged they are in the blogger’s content. Any blogger worth working with should be able to provide you data on their audience demographics , engagement rate, and reach. When you started your business you didn’t just open your doors and hope that people would show up – you marketing yourself – and bloggers do the same thing with their business