Social media platforms are free marketing resources that all kinds of businesses, big or small, can use and benefit from. They have enabled brands to connect with a much broader audience size when compared to traditional marketing channels.
Twitter, a popular social media platform, widely known as a reputed information and news source, has established itself as a front-runner in the social media marketing landscape. Almost every major political figure, brand, business, institution, celebrity, etc, use Twitter. This makes Twitter one of the most important social media platforms.
Although, as every user wants to increase their social media presence, the high follower counts have become a sort of a status symbol. Marketers and social media managers are often under tremendous pressure for increasing followers. Major brands and businesses usually have set targets (in terms of the number of followers) to achieve every quarter.
Every brand, marketer, or business wants to scale their business to the next level, but attaining a high follower count is just not that easy. Social media users are now more informed, content is abundant, and users seek information that adds value. Getting the attention of users with a few posts and updates is no longer possible.
Many users, brands, and businesses put effort, time, and resources to attract the attention of users. But some users would rather take the short-route to success, regardless of how short-lived it might be, by buying fake followers.
By swiping your credit card on a few websites, you can get a legion of mindless fake followers to inflate your Twitter follower count.
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What are fake followers?
Fake followers are usually automated bot software that uses the Twitter API to interact with other users. These bots or fake followers can be programmed to perform specific tasks. You could even configure it to Tweet, retweet, like, share, comment, and more.
Not all bots are fake followers and can be helpful in many other ways. A customer support bot is a prime example of a useful Twitter bot. But many websites or firms masquerading as social media management agencies sell Twitter bots to users. It helps them inflate their follower count in a rather short time.
Bought followers help these users create an illusion of popularity. Some users use this popularity to attract new followers, but when the users don’t find engaging content, they eventually unfollow such users.
There are users that buy fake followers to commit influencer fraud. Fake influencers buy followers and engagement to attract brand sponsorships and collaborations. Influencer fraud resulted in a loss of over $1.3 billion in 2019, the losses in 2020 are estimated to be over $1.5 billion.
Where to buy fake followers
Even though I wouldn’t suggest buying fake followers on any social media platform if you have already made up your mind, here are a few websites that sell fake Twitter followers.
Fivver is a widely popular website that connects businesses with freelancers. But many use the platform to sell fake followers.
FollowerSale is another website that sells fake followers to users. The website offers various packages of followers that you can choose from.
There are two ways of buying followers:
- You could simply buy Twitter bots. They are relatively cheap and won’t put a giant hole in your finances. Although, these cheap accounts are fake bots that are very easy to identify. If you are an avid Twitter user, you certainly would have heard the term, eggheads. It refers to when the default Twitter profile picture used is an egg. These are poorly optimized Twitter profiles, which make them easy to identify.
- If fake Twitter followers don’t interest you, you can buy real Twitter followers for your profile. Although, these accounts or followers don’t come cheap. The way this works is, a follower software searches for users with similar interests to yours. Upon finding such users, the software automatically follows them, hoping they will follow back.
5 Reasons not to buy Twitter followers
Ok, now that you know what fake followers are and how the system of buying and selling fake followers works, let’s delve a little deeper and discuss the reasons not to buy fake Twitter followers.
#1. Fake followers don’t engage
Even if you buy fake followers your high follower count is merely a number, it doesn’t provide any other benefit. Follower count has long been replaced by engagement as the most important metric. A large follower base that does not engage is of no use to brands and marketers. If you have 10,000 followers, but not even a thousand followers actually interact with your content, what good are they?
Follower count is indeed an important metric, but if that follower base does not interact with your posts, they won’t help you increase conversion rates either. After all, these accounts aren’t genuine users that need your brand’s products or services.
#2. Fake followers damage your reputation and credibility
Fake followers can indeed help you create an illusion of popularity, which then helps attract the attention of other users. But if these users don’t find engaging content, they will start questioning the credibility and authenticity of your followers. Eventually, these new followers will unfollow you, and this is not even the worst part.
Low engagement rates will force brands to analyze the authenticity of your followers. Upon confirmation, you won’t just lose the brand sponsorship, the brand will also blacklist you. The brand may never again approach you to promote its brand.
#3. It’s easy to find fake followers
The last decade has shown us a great surge in the number of fake accounts on social media platforms. But we have seen great technological advancements as well. One such beneficial technology is a software tool to identify fake followers or bots.
Twitter has been constantly updating its algorithm to purge fake followers from the platform. But websites selling fake followers keep finding new loopholes to exploit.
#4. Fake followers can get your account banned
Buying fake followers inflate your Twitter follower count. But if you buy too many fake followers, it can distort your follower/following ratio. The Twitter algorithm can spot accounts with such an uneven follower/following ratio. As buying fake followers is against the terms of services of Twitter, your Twitter account will eventually be banned. All the money that you may have invested in buying fake followers will eventually go to waste.
#5. Fake followers distort your performance metrics
Buying too many fake followers can distort your follower metrics. Let’s say you have 100 followers, but to inflate your follower count you bought another 1000 followers. Now, even if you have over 1000 followers, only 100 genuine followers are going to engage with your content. This can greatly distort your engagement rate, which is the most important metric for brands and marketers. Similarly, it also distorts growth metrics and predictions which can hamper your Twitter marketing strategy.
How to spot fake Twitter followers
Let’s discuss some effective ways to identify and block fake Twitter followers.
Accounts without a profile picture
First and foremost, look for accounts that haven’t updated their profile picture and still have the default image. Genuine and avid users will definitely update their profile picture as they themselves are interested in building connections, and personalizing your profile is the first step in doing so.
Accounts that lack basic information
When you are done finding users without a profile picture, start looking for accounts that lack personal information. An incomplete Twitter profile is an indicator of a fake Twitter account. Although, make sure that you don’t block new users as they may still be figuring out how Twitter works.
Accounts with weird usernames
Genuine users often have unique usernames or something that can be easily related to them. But accounts that have meaningless characters or numbers are usually fake followers, trolls, or spam accounts. Either way, you are better off removing such accounts from your Twitter follower base.
Search profile images on Google
Some fake accounts are properly optimized with the personal details of other users, even from other social media platforms. To identify such accounts, simply perform an image search using their profile image. If you get multiple results or accounts with different social media activity or posting habits, then it is a fake account.
Uneven follower-following ratio
Another great way of finding fake followers is the follower-following ratio. Fake followers follow multiple Twitter accounts, but they themselves have very few followers. Look-out for accounts with uneven follower-following ratios to identify fake followers. Twitter also limits how many users an account can follow, depending on the number of followers that account has.
For example, if an account follows 5000 users, it cannot follow more accounts until it has gathered a certain number of followers (90%-95% of the users you follow). You can use this to identify fake accounts that have reached the limitation and block them.
Use an automated Twitter audit tool
If you have a couple hundred or thousand followers, auditing your followers is doable. But imagine if you have over 100K or 1 million followers?!? Manually analyzing such a large follower base is just not possible. In such cases, you need an automated Twitter auditing tool, that can audit your followers with great accuracy and provide valuable insights. FollowerAudit is one tool that can help you audit your Twitter followers with ease. The free plan enables you to audit up to 5000 followers of any public Twitter account. The premium plan starts at $29.99 a month.
Growing your Twitter follower count organically is in no way easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. On any given day, a handful of genuine followers will benefit you more than fake followers that don’t even interact with your content. While it may give your brand or Twitter profile a little boost, in the long run, it can tarnish your reputation and credibility.
Instead of buying followers, put in the time and effort to cultivate an engaging follower base that can help you propel your brand or Twitter profile to the next level.
Guest author: Shivam Singh is a passionate and enthusiastic content writer. He enjoys writing content about social media and marketing in general. He is passionate about providing valuable information for the readers. For his hobbies, he either spends his time listening music or polishing his skills in landscape photography.(@shivam_s1ngh)