Faking It, Twitter Style: Fake Followers, Fans & Video Views for Digital Marketers

If you wonder how brands, politicians, celebrities or online personalities gather millions of followers on Twitter or other social sites, check out this handy infographic (below) from Mashable’s Kate Freeman.

Twitter giants often purchase fake followers to artificially inflate their numbers. Around 30% of their followers are fake, while an additional 40% are inactive accounts.

Lady GagaThink of it this way: Twitter’s top tweeter, Lady Gaga, has 28.8 million followers, but roughly 8 million are actually active or legit.

In her article, Freeman suggests Fakers, a new tool that exposes your fake followers, has pushed this issue into the spotlight.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Why does this matter to a digital marketer? When it comes to buying follows, likes, fans or video views, it’s important to understand your ultimate objective. Is it simply growth, engagement, momentum? A couple tips:

First, don’t be a sucker for cold call e-mails or agency pitches that offer to boost your Twitter followers or Facebook fans overnight. While the allure of a million-person fan base might seem hard to resist, what you truly want – a genuine connection with people in their online lives – typically happens more organically, over time. It’s largely pointless to boast big numbers if you can’t follow through with true brand engagement. Instead, develop a digital content curriculum and stick with it. In time, you’ll collect a community of dedicated fans and enthusiasts, less likely to become inactive.

Secondly, artificial growth can work to build social momentum. By activating a powerful psychological principle online, the social proof, when a certain threshold of fans/follows/views is reached: Prospective fans follow the herd. The real fans you gain as a result of the volume of paid or fake followers can help you convince some lost lambs that your brand, product or service is worth a follow or consideration. Essentially “If someone or a brand has this many people interested, then, perhaps, I’m interested too…”

Wonder how some brands gain millions of YouTube Views overnight? Bingo. The true challenge then becomes how you actively engage and respond to the real fans with relevant content and messages.

At least there may be hope for humanity, as I now can call to question Twilight’s fan base. Read Twilight Vampires Suck their Way to 1 Million Twitter Followers >

The Appearance of Social Media

P.S. Kate. Love your not-so-subtle use of Reddit rage comics.