How Many of Your Followers Are Fake?

The more Twitter followers you have, the more influential you are - right? Not always.

We recently saw this article that shows just how many fake followers some celebrities on Twitter have - we were quite surprised with the results! Did you know, only 38% of Rihanna's followers are real? Or that Justin Timberlake has 24,973,817 fake followers?


As it succinctly explains in the above article "The more people who have chosen to click the "follow" button on your profile page, the more likely it is that websites will cover your music, brands will reach out to you for endorsements, and, most importantly, people will feel less weird about following you, which will in all likelihood lead to more people following you."

"We Need More Followers"

A common misconception is that it's hard to gain followers. We hear a lot of stories of companies who are only interested in increasing their following; they want to reach milestones of 5k, 10k or 100k followers so that they will finally 'get there' on Twitter. Unfortunately this approach is misguided. Here's why in 3 key points:

  1. Why is it good to have a large following? Besides from the reasons mentioned above, it is usually so that a company has a readily available pool of willing listeners to which to share new products, sales messages and news when needed. Much cheaper than paying for large-scale advertising.
  2. How do I gain a following? This is a big question (see our 10 Reasons People Follow Brands post for more) but the best way is to provide people with quality content and to engage with them. This will provide you with quality followers who want to hear what you have to say. Alternatively, you can buy followers - these will be bots and fake accounts rather than real people, but will provide another tally in your 'Followed By' list.
  3. When does this approach not work? If a good chunk of your followers are not real people, are not relevant to your brand or are not active tweeters then you won't gain the potential benefits that come from a large following. Namely, people won't engage with you and your tweets won't equate to more sales/web clicks/sign ups.

It's worth saying that there are very legitimate cases where a following can increase quickly in a short space of time, and where those followers are valuable. A large following on Twitter really can be a good thing, if increased in the right way.


So, What To Do?

It's a tricky situation because you do want the kudos that comes from a large following, yet you don't want the burden of fake accounts. We suggest sticking to organically growing your account. A good place to start would be to look at our previous post on engagement among followers.

And finally...

Just in case you were wondering, 98% of You Say Social followers are deemed to be real!