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Padding the Numbers: Fake Followers

We’ve talked about how fake fans in any social media platform will get you nowhere fast. But until I saw this infographic on fake Twitter followers I had no idea that there were so many of them.

According to data from Social Selling University, the followers of popular Twitter accounts can be more than 30% fake.

How? Well, sometimes the fakers are bots, and sometimes they’re real people. Most of the time they are looking to inflate followers to appear legitimate in hopes of tricking people into buying something, but sometimes the back stories are innocuous: a real person joined up with Twitter, followed a bunch of people, then never came back. These are more accurately called “inactive” accounts, but they still screw with your numbers.

Do follower numbers matter? Yes, but some take it too far. Consider this:

  • More than 11,200 Twitter users have purchased more than 72,000 followers
  • The price of fakes range from $2 to $55 per 1,000 followers
  • Fake followers can easily be found and purchased on such big-time sites as eBay and Google Shopping

Just because fake followers can easily be had doesn’t mean they should be, however. From our perspective, the first rule of the Twitterverse is to never buy followers — you should have to earn them. The second rule of the Twitterverse is to vet your followers — don’t be afraid to block the bad ones. Think of it as quality control.

Bottom line? People pay attention to who follows you. And you can bet most people are savvy enough to suss out a fake account from the Real McCoy.

After all, it’s your business reputation that’s at stake.

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