In the context of social media, what exactly do we mean when we talk about “false followers?”
Fake followers, as the name suggests, are fictitious social media accounts that are used to inflate the perceived popularity or stature of another profile. Some of these followers are “ghosts” that never post or respond, while others are “bots” that retweet, friend-request, or publish fictitious comments and responses automatically.
How do phoney likes and retweets function?
Companies with a solid online reputation offer bogus followers, likes, and retweets to anyone who is interested. Customers can spend anything from a few cents to several hundred dollars for a large number of new followers that can dramatically increase their visibility online.
So what is wrong with false followers?
Marketers and companies utilise social media analytics, such as the number of followers and engagement rate, to identify potential influencers for their campaigns. In 2019, companies lost a total of $1.3 billion to influencer fraud, which includes both influencers who use bots to artificially inflate their follower counts and completely bogus influencer accounts.
Spam, ransomware, and phishing attacks are among ways that con artists deploy malicious bots posing as false followers. As part of your brand’s normal cybersecurity procedures, do a regular audit of your brand’s own social media accounts (or a Twitter audit in particular).
Yet, many fraudulent social media profiles use images of actual people whose identities or photos have been stolen. If you’re a business or an aspiring influencer and you’re thinking about buying phoney followers, keep that in mind.
How many people use phoney identities on social media?
It’s possible that these figures will surprise you. Up to 15 percent of all Twitter accounts, according to 2017 data. Thus, 48,000,000 users are represented there. Four years later, a new study found that just 55% of Instagram profiles are actual individuals. While some automated accounts have their uses (like those that tweet out daily weather updates), the proliferation of malevolent bots and false followers on social media platforms shows no signs of abating.
Recognizing and avoiding influencer fraud in the age of false followers
Concerned that a prospective influencer’s fan base is made up of false accounts? If you’re interested in verifying the authenticity of their profile and the accounts that follow it, use the methods, guidelines, and advice provided in this article.
Finding Fake Instagram Followers by Hand
Examining their list of followers’ usernames and profile images is a good place to begin. Fake profiles may be easily identified by their lack of a profile picture or by their seemingly random usernames (consisting of random letters and digits).
Check out the user’s profile and the posts they’ve made. Have any updates been made? Is there commenting beneath the postings that might indicate a bot or scam? Use your best judgement to determine who your real followers and customers are before reporting or banning their accounts.
It is possible to fool Instagram’s algorithm into thinking that a person is authentic or actively using their account by purchasing false followers. If you follow them back, however, they will immediately offer to sell you false followers via a private message or comment. It’s clear that this account is fully automated.
The manual detection of bogus Twitter followers
On Twitter as well as Instagram, a suspiciously large number of followers with no profile images and questionable usernames is a major red sign for phoney followers. Although visuals aren’t as important on this platform as discussion, there are still some aspects to evaluate. Examine their tweets and tweets to them. Is there genuine interaction with other accounts? Are they spamming using the reply button and hashtags? Ask them whether they’ve ever mentioned your company or used your brand’s hashtag. What is the account’s age? Depending on the size of your brand’s social media presence, this approach might be too time-consuming and/or not scalable to be practical.
Using social media analytics and influencer marketing platforms
The market for fraudulent influencer marketing is expanding in tandem with the influencer marketing business. Influencer marketing platforms and social media analytics tools are used by brands that wish to adopt a swift yet powerful approach.
There are a few free websites and applications that will show you one by one if the social media profiles you’re looking at are real or not. Someone else’s aid in analysing follower lists might reveal the presence of fraudulent social media profiles or the unusual rapid growth of a profile’s number of followers or friends.
By leveraging powerful analytics and AI-powered algorithms that filter out bots and ghost accounts, Meltwater’s social influencer marketing platform not only lets you research and manage influencer campaigns, but also comprehend an influencer’s genuine reach. Advanced techniques like these allow you to learn more about your audience and eliminate the possibility of influencer fraud.
Eliminating Fake Social Media Followers
Consider the possibility that bots have infiltrated the followers of your brand. Have you ever purchased fictitious fans? Twitter and Instagram audits may help you identify and remove spammy, questionable, or fraudulent accounts from your brand’s social media channels. You should conduct audits for fraudulent followers on a regular basis; monthly or quarterly checks are recommended. Even if you don’t think you have a lot of bot followers, you could be shocked by how easily they can be removed from your social media accounts through routine purges.
It may not be fashionable to talk about fake followers and influencer fraud, but that’s all the more reason to examine your own social media and influencer marketing practises. In doing so, you may learn something about your target demographic and decide to go further. Learn more about how Meltwater’s unified suite of marketing tools may help you succeed by completing the form on this page.