Social media is an integral part of search engine optimization. Aside from gaining social signals necessary for ranking, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great places to find hot leads. Nothing is as satisfying as seeing your number of Fans or Followers increase as days pass. Even better? Seeing them engage with your posts through comments, Likes, and reTweets.
However, not everyone is who they seem to be on social media. There are companies and/or individuals who get a kick from creating fake accounts. These can be used for several purposes, but mainly to a) attract audiences, b) get clicks to their website, and c) increase ranking. If you’ve seen some users without profile pictures or those with suspiciously low number of Tweets – beware!
Your business page could be suffering from fake fans or followers.
Fakes Get In The Way
The major reason why you should take fake fans or followers seriously is because they interfere with the accuracy of your online marketing data. Social media metrics such as engagement and conversion for example, are dependent on follower/fan interaction. If yours are fakes, you will have a hard time analyzing the effectiveness of your campaign. This wastes time, money, and effort for you and your team.
Facebook knows how damaging phony accounts are; that’s why they removed inactive Likes from business pages during the first week of March, 2015. Although plenty of huge companies were affected, they knew it was for their own good. Without counting memorialized or deactivated accounts, you can now tell how successful your Facebook campaign really is.
Another social media giant to follow this movement is Twitter. Although there was no formal announcement, we were able to find out, based on a series of informal experiments, that they are NOT counting automated engagements in their Analytics. That means fake accounts – or even real users – that are using third party apps to reTweet or publish posts are being devalued.
How To Spot – and Remove – Fakes
Unlike real life, it’s rather easy to spot fake users on social media. Using a variety of online tools, you can determine which accounts to remove to finally clean up your marketing data.
Even though Twitter has updated their security measures, some bad eggs were still able to breach their system. Good thing there’s Fakers app, Fake Followers tool from Socialbakers, and Twitter Audit to help you identify them.
Fakers app is a free tool that helps you analyze your Twitter followers. Just enter your Twitter handle and wait for a few seconds or minutes (depending on how big your account is). It will show the percentage of fake, inactive, and good accounts. With a paid subscription, you can automatically block fake accounts, as well as view Twitter details of up to 15 friends or competitors.
The Fake Followers tool from Socialbakers is another free tool that offers a 10 to 15 percent margin of error. Same with the previous tool, just enter your Twitter handle and wait. It will compare 100 random Followers against a list of criteria, then present you with roll call of suspicious accounts. (We just checked the tool and they are currently undergoing maintenance.)
We would recommend Twitter Audit for large accounts. Simply enter your Twitter screen name, authorize the app, and wait. It will show your audit score, the exact number of real and fake users in your account, plus a quality score for each follower. You can choose to get their PRO version to automatically block fake accounts, get monthly audit reports, and more.
Removing fake Facebook likes is tricky. One, you need to determine first if an account is fake. Second, you have the option of either ignoring or blocking that account once you find it. In a thread post, Facebook suggests using targeted promotions or ads to reach the right people. The problem with their solution is, other people can still see your business page and decide to Like it even if they are fakes.
But we found Social Media Buzz and their step-by-step guide on how to remove fake Likes from your business page by banning them for good.
IGExorcist is a great free app you can use to remove fake followers on Instagram. Just sign into your account, authorize the app, then click on the Request Rebuild button. It may take a while because they analyze every follower you have (so if you have more than 500, it could take several minutes).
Do note that their comparison depends on whether or not a user has interacted with you in the last 300 days. New followers will obviously show up as inactive – so be careful who you delete!
Get Real, Legit Followers Today
No, we’re not talking about buying them. Not only is that strategy considered cheating, it’s not going to help your social media metrics in the long run. Nothing beats getting REAL humans as fans or followers. Plus, they’re more fun. To help you get started, our social media strategist suggests the following tips:
#1 Be Active, Be Human
Imagine talking to someone, only to see that they’re either asleep or not paying attention to you. Doesn’t that make you mad? It’s the same thing on social media. Continuously publishing posts to inactive or sleeping accounts is similar to talking to a brick wall.
Take time to find interesting, relevant content from your fans/followers that you want to share on your Feed. Favorite or Like their posts. Thank new fans and followers with @mentions or through a private message. Comment. Ask questions to generate a healthy discussion. Don’t be dormant! Remember, being human means being interactive. So go out there and interact with your fans and followers!
#2 Diversify Content
Share content relevant to your industry, but at the same time, it doesn’t hurt to insert a few funny, clever, and shocking stories. Don’t stick to links. Not only will you appear boring and spammy, but people will eventually lose interest in what you share. Spice up posts with beautiful images, videos, quotes, and local news. No one wants to read the same thing again and again. Do your fans and followers a favor by being unpredictably amazing.
#3 Grab Attention
Sometimes, all it takes for someone to notice you is a tap on their shoulder. On social media, this means @mentions, private messages, or replies. Don’t be afraid to call out to someone – especially if it’s to tell them they’re awesome. People appreciate a good feedback or two. Be genuine. Avoid faking compliments because trust us, folks can tell.
Do you have social media strategies to help YOU gain real fans and followers? Why not share them with us! We would love to talk to you on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.