Proliferation of social media has its own benefits; but this rising or already popular phenomenon has its own perils and demerits. And the threat comes in the form of fake followers. Whether you are creating your personal brand or working as brand manager for a company, this information will supply you enough information on how you can save yourself and your brand from those imposters.
Since Facebook and Twitter are largely used by brands and brand managers, we will discuss how you can stop cyber impersonators from fooling you. Not that these channels keep mum over the issues; they take action against such menace by launching some anti-stalking features.
But such features fail to outsmart the smarter fake followers. Given the statistics, it is crystal clear that genuine users have to do something on their own to keep their social media profile protected against such evils:
- According to 2014 data released by Facebook, nearly 5.5% to 11% of users are fake. The number includes duplicate, misclassified and undesirable accounts.
- Twitter tells the similar story; according to IPO documents filed by the company, approximately 10 million accounts were expected to be fake.
- Surprisingly, Bernie Sanders, who is famously called the “king of social media”, has 11% fake followers in his account, which enjoyed 820, 000.
One question that might irritate everyone: why should anyone bother about fake followers?
Well, there are some drawbacks of this nuisance. Apart from higher operational cost and lower growth for social media platforms, there are other challenges users have to face.
You might have purchased the followers or they are genuine followers, fake followers can wreak havoc on your social media presence.
If you think that it is not your job to get rid of those fake followers, who will do this? Fake followers do not respond to your social media campaign and this brings the engagement ratio down, lower ranks in news feeds and decrease the conversions for your brand.
Click farms are posing a bigger threat as these agencies belong to the developing world; and from the comfort of home or office, people hired by click farms like every ad they see in their news feed. This shows them as genuine followers. Moreover, such so-called legitimate followers avoid getting banned by Facebook.
To know more about how fake followers can damage your budget plans while you are shelling out bucks on your social media campaigns, you can watch this video:
We have listed four necessary checkpoints you can follow to stop your brand from inviting fake followers.
1: Check how your social media accounts perform at present
Note that fake followers never fall into your target demographic; this means you cannot expect them to make comments on your posts or like them. Interaction is a far cry as 43% of fake Facebook profiles do not even update their status. Then what lesson should you learn from lower social media interaction? If you notice limited interaction and engagement first, then you should know that the reach of the campaign is limited. It is crystal clear now that Facebook news feed algorithm distributes content in users’ feed as per the interaction received from the first new followers it serves.
As a side note, you would like to know that Instagram has also announced that it will undertake a similar algorithm program. Following suit, Twitter offers how you can turn on the best tweets feature on timeline.
Finally, lower reach on account of fake followers will result in lower traffic and revenue from your social media campaigns.
2. Check your suspicious social media accounts for fake followers.
Even after having thousands of followers, your social media campaign fails to give desired results. This is the time to run a reality check; time to conduct an audit of all your social media accounts. And most importantly, you should start with getting rid of those imposters, who follow you or brand you are promoting.
First off, start scanning your social media account with some reliable tools.
How to Find and Remove Fake Followers from Twitter
1. Use Fakers App.
This free app is for Twitter followers; just enter your Twitter accounts (you can enter 8 accounts in the free version) and authorize the app to access your Twitter profile to get a followers’ report. This report shows you details of your followers in 3 categories viz. Fake, Inactive, and Good.
Another feature that you might be interested to explore is competitor’s analysis. This app also checks your competitor’s Twitter following; this gives you some idea of your performance. Appreciate this tool’s ability to provide statistics like language spoken by your followers, number of people they follow and what they did in the last few days.
If you subscribe for premium service of Fakers App, you can manually block fake accounts or the app will automatically block such accounts. A major benefit is that you can keep track of your competitors.
2. Use FakeFollowers
Fakefollowers is also a good option to analyze Twitter followers; this tool is developed by Social Baker. This tool will randomly pick up 100 followers from your Twitter profile and will provide you percentage details of accounts held by imposters. This tool allows you to block the identified spam accounts.
How to Find and Remove Fake Followers from Instagram
This tool works for Instagram and it is a comparison tool that compares the engagement of your Instagram followers against the accounts you follow over the last 300 days.
Log on to the IGExorcist website and allow the tool to access your Instagram account. The tool will start scanning your followers.
The tool will immediately present you a list of your inactive followers. These accounts haven’t liked your photos in the last 300 days. Now you can select an option to delete all the idle followers in bulk. But before you go for this action, you are advised to run a quick scan before deleting any user. Reason is that the app doesn’t know since when a particular follower has been following you; hence, it will consider recent followers inactive if they haven’t interacted with your posts.
How to Find and Remove Fake Fans from Facebook Page
Use Graph Search to find fake followers on Facebook accounts.
This is not your automated tool that works wonder with a single click or tap. If your friends’ list doesn’t boast more than a few thousands, then you should directly head to Friend requests icon in your Facebook account. You can easily delete some dubious accounts with a single click.
Graph search is an easier way to find fake profiles if you have more than 1000 followers or fans on Facebook. Take a look at the two statistics on fake Facebook profiles:
- According to Barracuda Labs. 97% of fake Facebook profiles are of female users.
- Fake accounts are found more in developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Chile, Brazil, Pakistan and Philippines.
Again you can use graph search to find such fans and followers. Either you hire a person that can search such fake profiles on Facebook or run a few simple queries based on interests, other pages liked, location of your followers and fans.
How to Find and Remove Fake Connections from Linkedin
Find fake LinkedIn connections manually as you have done for your Facebook account. But how you can identify such fake profiles or connections on your LinkedIn account. There are two ways you can spot fake profiles:
Fake LinkedIn connection requests don’t have endorsements combined with a lower number of connections.
Such fake profile owners don’t upload their own pictures; rather they choose one from stock photo list. Once you got the list of fake followers and doubtful accounts, you can go further.
3: Tell the social media channels about the imposters; if they do not take any action, you should ban those fake profiles.
As a good netizen, you should report such issues/fake accounts:
After running a query using graph search, Facebook supplies a list of people. Among these people, you will find fake profiles.
Now click on the drop-down arrow on the right side of profile name.
From the options seen, choose “Report User” (Note that genuine profiles will not have the option of “Report User”)
On Twitter, you need to check spam profiles and then tap on gear icon to report spam.
Simply go to a fake profile and “Report Inappropriate” on Instagram.
On LinkedIn, you need to follow a few simple steps:
On your LinkedIn profile, you may find many profiles which show swear words against religions, empty profiles with fake names, or profiles created in the name of public figures. To report such profiles, follow below mentioned steps.
- While you are on fake profiles, take cursor on the Drop-down arrow next to Send a Message or Send InMail/View in Recruiter. You will find this option in the top section of their profiles.
- Now choose Block or Report from the drop-down list of options.
- Click on the box next to Report.
- Choose a rewon why you want to report a fake profile.
- Click on Continue.
- Finally click Agree.
It is advisable that you hire a freelancer who can manually spot and report fake social profiles. Every day, fake profiles are poured in numbers, and therefore, social media channels normally take some actions to thwart such menace. You can go further and take next step.
In the step 2, we have shared tools that help you in banning fake profiles from Instagram and Twitter. In LinkedIn, you can report such fake accounts; however, you can ban 50 users at the most.
1. If you want to restrict and ban fans on Facebook, follow the steps below:
You can limit visibility of your page on Facebook if your clients are local.
Open Page Settings and click on Country Restrictions from the list of options.
Write names of countries where you don’t want to show your page.
Now click on “Save Changes” button.
2. If you have some basic knowledge of HTML, you can follow Step 3 of this information.
Step 4: You should scrutnize new followers that you generated by launching giveaways and advertising.
Brands want to connect with their target audience and like to earn good profit by launching advertising campaigns and giveaways on Facebook. By conducting contests and producing viral videos, they get good results. While this strategy give instant results, there is a sting in the tail.
During such marketing activities, brands normally get consumers who are only interested in gifts and giveaways and don’t want to connect with the brand and its products or services. While conducting such campaigns, care should be taken that as marketing professional, you offer products that create interest in your potential customers. Giveaways like vacations and smartphones interest every user, who can’t be your potential customer.
A carefully thoughtout prize or giveaway will invite fewer participants, but they are your potential customers.
Apart from prizes and giveaways, you can grab potential customers by employing sophisticated targeting options while running ad campaigns on social media.
Some digital marketing experts use third-party apps like AgoraPulse to launch contests. Users are expected to register on app to take part in contests. These apps also help in sorting out fake accounts created by imposters.
Your inflated social media account can boost your ego initially, but in the long run, it can damage your personal brand as well as the brand you are working for. Moreover, such fake followers incur loss on you in the form of penalty imposed by social media channels.
This is the right time to keep vigilance on your social media accounts by employing tools and strategy mentioned in this information.