Social Media Flushed with Fake Followers
Exopsing the Truth of Social Media Numbers
Several years ago, an agent speaking at a writers conference said we needed to have a significant following on social media before we would get the attention of publishers. I challenged him to give me a number, but he had met me. He said he knew better than to give me a number because he knew I would start bugging him the moment I crossed that threshold.
I would like to tell you I came home from that event and jumped right into building my social media following, but I would be lying. I came home and trudged along as I had been – focusing more on building my content on my website and not even doing that with enough consistency to make Google happy.
The other day, I attended a local event where the social media leader suggested that the numbers don’t matter as much as the engagement. “10 super fans that engage your content are better than 10,000 that are just following.”
I liked that idea because I have long said it is all about relationships. I attend Twitter chats because we engage with each other. I am part of groups that talk with each other – and not just share links. It’s back to the basics: create lasting connections and then focus on being relentlessly helpful within those connections.
This morning I heard an interesting story about the fake followers bombarding all of social media. It turns out that many of those HUGE followings that folks have are not real people – and they are definitely not engaged individuals. The followers are made up robots that users pay to be a part of their following.
(You can read the story for yourself from the New York Times about The Follow Factory – there are also several other stories about the fake numbers).
I will make a confession here. Even before this story broke, I had stopped trying to build the numbers. Don’t get me wrong. I still CHECK my numbers. I’m just not as concerned about what they are doing.
I have turned my attention to being invested in others because I know that real engagement is the best way to build a platform online (and in real life as well). Invest in others. Be purposefully engaged. Make connections and be helpful. Maybe the robots will eventually get tired and give up and leave us alone to take over the world.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think? Do the numbers matter especially in light of what Facebook and Twitter admit about the bots?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Share in the comments below or link to your own story about social media bots and fake followers.
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It’s definitely interesting. I think real relationships are more important, but it’s sad how easily we can be pulled away to just look at the #’s and be so focused on trying to make money that we forget the living breathing people behind why we write or what we do to begin with.
Absolutely! Hopefully the “powers that be” that are demanding the numbers part will recognize more and more the power of engagement over sheer numbers!
I looove this post! I’ve decided to focus on genuine interactions. I have so many people I’m following on Twitter that it’s overwhelming. Quality over quantity is what’s really important!
Thanks for stopping by Denise. I’ve found that without the interactions it feels like you are just talking to yourself. I can do that – but it’s a lot more fun when we journey together! 😀
I’m with you! I don’t check my numbers that often, because I’d rather have 100 people who truly give a hoot about me than 10K who follow me, but never engage. And I’m glad to hear that fake followers are being flushed out.
The real question will be “what will the platforms do about it.” I appreciate your investment in engaging others. You have been just a blessing!