You may have seen me tweeting about fake followers. I figured a blog post may be more constructive and hopefully helpful, as well as getting it off my chest. I’ve noticed a lot of “fake followers” and likes on Instagram and Twitter accounts I follow (or I should say followed). I’m not going to name any names here but I urge you all to check people’s twitter and Instagram accounts (I’ll tell you how you can do these checks further down). Let me tell you, I am shocked! I couldn’t believe how many had fake followers, perhaps I’m naive but I was really surprised.
I should point out most accounts will have some fake followers, unfortunately this is just part and parcel of social media. However, there are measures you can take to resolve the problem of having a large amount of fake followers through no fault of your own. If you think you have a fake follower it’s best to block and/or report them. On twitter it’s pretty easy to spot, there’s usually none of their own content in their timeline and it’s all RTs. With Instagram fake accounts usually ask if you want 5000 (or whatever) followers for $40, so you know you can’t miss them! Or they’ll have profiles like the one’s below. It might be tempting to keep them to bump up your follower count but in the long run it weakens your own profile. Keep fake followers as low as you possibly can. It’ll look better for you overall.
Followers are often seen as being vital for your blog’s worth, especially if you want to work with brands etc. You’ll often find remits on blogger outreach such as Bloggers Required asking for a certain amount of social media followers. If you have a high follower count it follows that you have significant reach, right? Well, definitely not always. I maintain that it’s more important to have an engaged audience than a fake high follower count. What’s the point in having fake followers if you can’t interact with them? PRs and brands need to check the legitimacy of people’s followers. Your brand/product can’t be promoted and ultimately purchased by fake followers. Twitter followers can be checked relatively straight forwardly but Instagram is a little bit different.
HOW TO CHECK FAKE FOLLOWERS
How to spot on Twitter: It’s relatively easy to spot fake followers on Twitter with the help of tools such as Twitter Audit and Fake Followers Check . These use algorithms to work out fake followers. Twitter Counter let’s you see rapid increases in followers or rapid drops. Another way is to see how many “eggs” follow someone or accounts with little or no tweets. It’s easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for.
How to spot on Instagram: Instagram has to be checked manually, there’s isn’t auditing sites available like those for Twitter but it’s still pretty easy to spot fake followers. One of the signs is a sudden surge in follower numbers but then miraculously stops. I literally saw someone’s account going from around 5000 ( I have doubts those were legit followers to begin with) to around 11k overnight. It’s now stopped growing. If you have a look at their followers you’ll often see names such as Algedasad, Shiou1t etc, just nonsense names that have been randomly generated. The fake accounts either don’t have a bio or again it’s randomly generated like these:
And, to make it even more blindingly obvious accounts such as this will follow the purchaser:
But it’s not only fake followers it’s also fake likes which are a problem. Again, these are easy to spot. They’ll look very similar to the fake followers: randomly generated names and bios (if they have any). Usually the fake likers are the same as the fake followers. Fake followers and fake likes are actually against Instagram’s community guidelines, so reporting them is always an option, Instagram say:
“Foster meaningful and genuine interactions.
Help us stay spam-free by not artificially collecting likes, followers, or shares, posting repetitive comments or content, or repeatedly contacting people for commercial purposes without their consent.” (source)
I don’t know why people ultimately buy fake likes and followers. Perhaps it’s an ego thing, or perhaps it’s to make your blog look more important than it is. Or perhaps it’s the adage “fake it until you make it” (awful, isn’t it?). Whatever the reasoning I suggest just not doing it, it really isn’t a good look and will do more damage in the long run. It’s wilfully deceitful and just erodes trust. You’re bound to be caught out eventually, either by people like me randomly stumbling upon an anomaly or by a purge either by Twitter or Instagram. It may be harder but building and working on engaging content is more fulfilling and interacting with real people is surely better. Having a small but engaged audience is worth so much more than the perception of a large follower account. Stay true to yourself, integrity is vital.
For further reading I found these articles really useful:
Have you experienced this? What are your thoughts?