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How Many Fake Fans and Followers Do You Have?

By Maura Mitchell

A significant portion of your likes and followers are phony if you run social media for a business. And that’s hurting your social ROI.

Before you delete this newsletter saying, “This doesn’t apply to me, I have never bought fans or paid for likes,” hear me out. Even if you only grow your social following organically, you still have false fans.

Facebook recently reported that between 5.5% and 11.2% of its profiles are fraudulent. That translates to 67 to 137 million accounts. This revelation comes after Facebook deleted millions of fake accounts in Fall 2012. Twitter and YouTube have not shared statistics, but there is every reason to believe their percentages are similar.

Here’s where it gets tricky. The top motivation for creating zombie accounts is to sell likes and followers. But, social networks have systems in place to spot that. To disguise what they are doing, fake profiles like a wide range of innocent businesses as well as those they are paid to follow. That’s how you end up with false fans.

While fake followers may seem innocuous, they undermine your social media’s impact. Those fans do not engage, so they influence the algorithm that determines how many true consumers see your posts. Additionally, they mislead businesses about their social media reach, which influences the perception of which tactics are most effective.

What are the implications for your business?
  • Are you tracking your social media impact by level of engagement, rather than by the number of fans and likes? Zombie accounts show no engagement.
  • Are you very carefully targeting your social media ads to reduce the likelihood that you are inadvertently marketing to zombie accounts?
For help developing powerful marketing strategies that drive results, strategic plans that deliver  growth,  or  new  products  that  consumers  love, contact Brandology at 925-417-2253 or
Sources: Business2Community 2014, Motley Fool 2014, Reuters 2014, Veritasium 2014 

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