This is the first of a two part series about fake followers. Part two will be posted next week.
Being fake is not new.
Years ago we had fake web sites (Phishing) and spam email etc..
Now Social media is the target of the fakers, that’s life I guess.
After spending some time venturing into social media, you will no doubt come face to face with fake accounts. Then you might get accustomed to the give away signs of a fake follower. They are become ever more sophisticated. Years ago, it was very easy to spot them. I could see new accounts created after 10 days or so having 1000’s of followers when they only tweeted 5 or so times. How can that be? It just did not add up.
Twitter is not the only target of the fake accounts. There are people selling fake Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube followers or subscribers.
Years ago I spent some time looking at fake Facebook accounts. I recall seeing 100s with smiling profile pictures, but they had not posts on their wall. They all had the same personal data, like religion, political affiliation, and favorite topics like food, films, travel.
Selling fake is now big business for some people.
Earning a living being fake? Some people seem to choose this as a career. The New York Times highlighted this recently with their post "Fake Twitter Followers Become Multimillion-Dollar Business".
This is obviously not exclusive to the online domain, and this story gives a new meaning to “BIG business” - A conman made £50million by selling fake bomb detectors based on £13 novelty golf ball finders.
Do we all have fake followers?
Almost all Twitter accounts have at least some fake followers of one type or another. Here are 10 easy ways to spot fake Twitter followers.
Buying fake followers for company accounts is just not clever at all. It was not easy to work out the fake % of twitter accounts years ago, but today there are many free services available. A quick win to buy fake accounts years ago to boost your account standing is a brand reputation killer now that we can all work out your fake follower %. This might of been seen as a way to avoid a new Twitter account looking “new”. It reminds me of the advice I read when I first made web sites in the early 1990s, which was to inflate the web site vists/visitor counter at the launch of a new website. The counters were very commonplace on web sites at that time.
What is the benefit anyway? Tweeting to fake followers is a waste of time and fake followers make engagement, social status and influence statistics extremely poor.
Here is an infograhic created by SocialsellingU.com, presented by Insideview.
How do you feel about fake followers?
If you know me, you will know that this topic is one that really gets me going! Red hot! The sellers of fakes often turn up on accounts without an invite. On my Facebook fan page I sometimes get a message like “I added 2 followers to your page so if you want more just go to…” and how often do you find comments on your Instagram posts from sellers promoting fake likes. Grrrrr! So what you you think about fakes?
Part two of this series about fake followers next week.
About The Author:
Clive Roach is the social media strategist for Philips Healthcare. He is active with strategy development, activation, governance, projects and educational training activities for all aspects of social media within Philips Healthcare. Clive has been working in the eMarketing area since 1997, and previously held roles in engineering, design and sales. Clive is also practical in addition to his current strategic role. In addition to this blog, he tweets daily on three Twitter accounts, has two Facebook fan pages, Google+, Pinterest, So.cl, Instagram, and participates in many other social networks.
Connect with the author via: Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook fan page | SlideShare