Fake followers – I’m not going to be silenced on this one!

Oh no! :) You’ll possibly remember that I recently wrote a couple of articles here about fake followers on Facebook and Twitter and how they can have an impact on your social media campaigns. All other issues aside, it can mean that you believe that you are sending out messages to thousands of people who are interested in what you have to say when in fact, just a small fraction of your followers see it; and the ones who actually care can much, much lower than that.

One local business, an employee of which saw my articles, was affronted. How dare I? How dare I suggest that they had social media followers who aren’t real? You may recall that it wasn’t me ‘suggesting’. The articles were brought about by a) extensive coverage of this very issue in relation to two gentlemen, one of whom will shortly be the president of the United States and b) a online evaluation service which exists to analyze social media accounts – impartially – to reveal fake followers.

The fake following phenomenon is something that we in social media have known about for years. As soon as it’s mainstream news, and I write an article about it, it’s my fault. That’s OK – I get it. It’s just another example of people not understanding, that’s all.

So I have another example for you today.

A candidate for the position of Broward County Sheriff has had an enormous wave of new followers on Twitter and Facebook recently. From a small number (under 600) his ‘likes’ suddenly jumped to over 20,000.

In previous articles about this subject, I’ve said that leaps like this are usually caused by the social media management in question buying Facebook likes. You’ll remember that I said that the majority of the companies that provide this service, which I believe is illegal in the USA, are located in places like India.

So you won’t be surprised to know that the sheriff candidates new followers arefrom Islamabad in Pakistan. Hardlt local voters.

The Twitter account had an even greater upsurge – from a couple of hundred people to over 100,000. Many of these ‘followers’ have made no tweets, they are following exactly thirty three people and they have zero followers themselves. Fakes.

I imagine that I shall be berated again by my critic who doesn’t accept the truth about fake followers. However he needs to bear in mind that I don’t create the news or invent the news, I merely report the news. Fake followers are a fact, not a figment of my imagination.

I mentioned earlier the online evaluation service that analyzes account for fake and inactive followers. Let’s see what it had to say about the sheriff candidate:

As you can see, just two percent of the followers are real. (And kindly notice, dear critic, that I have concealed the person’s name. The other reports I have read have not – the name has been mentioned in all other reports quite blatantly).

My original intention, when I first wrote about fake followers was to reassure members of Team Las Olas about our own accounts. When the news broke about the presidential candidates’ fake followers, some Team Las Olas members got in touch. How many fake followers does our Las Olas Twitter account have? They were naturally concerned. The independent evaluation tool helped me to reassure them. Thus:

And please note that the two evaluations above were done in the last few minutes, during the writing of this article.  Note too that ‘inactive’followers are not necessarily a bad thing. An account is considered ‘inactive’ if it has not sent out a message for thirty days – some people prefer to listen rather than talk. We also showed our geographical Facebook statistics. Again, this screenshot was taken just a few seconds ago and shows that our Facebook followers are mostly from Fort Lauderdale and Miami, other cities in Florida and a handful from tourist feeder areas such as Ohio, New York and Atlanta.

I was accused by my critic of using these statistics to show Team Las Olas in a better light than other businesses locally. Well, yes…

That’s what is known as ‘advertising’. But I’m not just saying – as ads do for other businesses – ‘we are the best’.  No, I am showing, by the use of independent statistics, that our social media accounts have genuine, interested fans and followers who are real people who have deliberately chosen to follow in order to get news about what’s happening in our local area. I see no problem with that, do you? (Well, one person does, we know that).

When I turned on my TV this morning, the first thing I saw was an ad for Audi. The gist of the ad was ‘forget BMW, drive an Audi’. You’ll have seen these all the time – ‘Our Ford trucks are better than Chevy’s trucks’ and so on. Rarely are these comparison ads backed up with official data from independent sources. On my critic’s website, their business is spoken about in glowing terms,  naturally. But somehow that’s OK and yet it’s not OK for me to point out facts.

Well.

However, the fact remains that it’s perfectly possible that you are sending out messages to Twitter and Facebook followers who just don’t care. Worse, you could be paying someone to send out your unseen messages. If you’re really serious about making the most of social media, get in touch.

 

Posted by Team Las Olas in : Rants,

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