Everyone wants to be a success, so there are companies out there that will 'support' you. They'll sell you 'followers'... They'll sell you 'likes'... They'll even sell you 'listens' on audio-hosting platforms like SoundCloud.
While this isn't illegal, MicroMedia considers this practice not only unethical (these aren't people, they're lines of code that don't appreciate what you're doing) but I consider it completely irrelevant and unecessary.
The number of followers you have doesn't generate effect. Effect is generated when individual followers do something you desire with the information or message you give them. Would you rather have 10 followers that engage with nearly everything you post, or 1.5k 'code'-followers that just make your profile 'look better'?
When measuring the effects of your media engagement, you need to break it into three areas:
Measure of Activity
This is how much effort you are putting into getting your messages out there. It could be the number of tweets you've sent, the number of hours you've crafted Facebook posts or even how many traditional press releases you've emailed.
You set the measure. But this information will enable you to start determining which channels are working best, where to focus your efforts and where you need to improve.
Measure of Performance
This is what these companies are offering you... Followers, likes, shares et al. But they are only performance. You could follow a band on twitter for years, but until you buy their album or tickets to their next concert, they haven't realised the effect they wanted.
So here is where you want to record the number of followers, shares, likes, comments, press releases that turn into articles and the like. But don't think for one second that they are effects.
And this is the hardest part of all. How do you know that you've had an effect? How do you know that the effect was generated by your media interaction? And most importantly...
What effect were you trying to achieve?
Sales, footfall, website visits...? Maybe its just getting someone to repeat your message unaltered...?
This is where you have to apply the grey matter. This is where you should start. This is where you may need assistance.
What effect do you want to have? Who can generate that effect? What do you need to tell them? Where will they hear your message? How can you identify if their actions were caused by my media engagement?
None of this has an easy answer. But one thing's for certain:
You can have as many followers as you like, but unless you know what you want to achieve... How do you know you're leading them in the right direction?