The recent glorification of social media followers has given rise to fake followers emulating some functionalities of real human beings. Having many twitter followers has a direct financial benefit to the account holder. Celebrities having real twitter followers are paid thousands of dollars by companies to promote their products. Many people are resulting from purchasing Twitter followers due to the benefits that come along. Nowadays, robots are on twitter, and people are paying to have them as followers. While having many followers is good for promoting your brand, you need to have real human followers whom you can engage in.
There are companies in the business of creating and selling fake Twitter accounts in the form of bots. These bots can execute simple tasks such as retweeting, liking posts, and inflate people’s follower count. Some bots are programmed to follow twitter accounts in the hope that you will follow them back. This makes it hard to determine if they are fake or real. Having fake twitter followers can be detrimental to your brand since while you have a large number of following, there are no real engagements. This results in low returns if you intend to promote your product through twitter. Below are ways to identify fake Twitter followers.
Image: Fake Twitter Account Warning Signs. Photo was taken from SearchEnginengine
Take a keen look at their profiles
The quickest way to identify fake followers on your account is to look at their profiles. Fake Twitter account holders apply excessive hashtags or advertise spammy links. These followers can also be identified by determining the number of people they follow. Twitter has a limit on the number of people a user can follow until he has more followers. For example, a user with 200 followers but following 5001 people shows a fake account.
A high number of followers but few tweets
It is hard for someone who rarely posts on Twitter to have many followers. People with many followers often post to maintain their presence in the online world. Frequent posting also serves as a way of getting more twitter followers. If there is a disconnect between the number of followers and the tweets, then the account is probably fake.
Image: Little following, little tweets but a large number of followers. Photo taken from Medium
Twitter account with no description
Many people provide a description of who they are and what they do. A description provides the opportunity to interact with your followers and give them the chance to know you more. A blank description should be treated as a red flag. However, you should review the account’s tweets, the followers, and who the account holder follows to determine whether the account is fake or real.
Instant response to tweets
If you have ever published a tweet and someone instantly responds to it and starts following you, then you could be dealing with a fake follower. Immediate tweet responds are often generated by bots programmed to react to a tweet whenever a predefined keyword is used in a post. There are different tools, such as hashtags that Twitter users can use to reach their target audience quickly. However, when the response to your tweets is immediate, the account could be fake. Even when people respond to your tweet, they take time to read it and react to it.
Dominating promotional tweets
It is not likely for a real Twitter user to always post promotional tweets. Many fake account holders publish nothing but promotional tweets in their accounts. Such followers could be fake, and they have no benefit to you or your brand. It is important to evaluate whether they are naive Twitter users who do not understand how to use the platform or robots masquerading as real users best.
A huge number of tweets
If you identify a follower making many tweets per day beyond human capability, then you should treat it as a red flag. Although people can share login credentials when they are managing a brand account, you can always tell if the tweets are automated depending on how they are posted. If the volume of tweets per day seems impossible, it means you have fake Twitter followers.
Absence of a profile picture
People do not like to interact with faceless social media users. Like any other networking platform, a lot depends on building a good relationship with your followers. The first step of this process is by having a profile picture in your account to show people your face. If you find an active Twitter account with no profile image, it could be fake. Many Twitter users would like to be known either directly or through the brands they represent. A profile picture is an ideal step for building a relationship with your followers.
Similar tweet to different people
Legitimate Twitter users like to send unique tweets to their followers. However, if you see a similar tweet sent by the same user to different people, it shows the account could be fake. Many twitter robots are programmed to send similar images to different people at specific time intervals. It is, therefore, vital to examine the tweets you receive to detect whether they are emanating from a real Twitter user.
Image: Similar Tweets.
Direct warning messages
If you have been a victim of direct warnings to your twitter account, then you might have interacted with a fake Twitter follower. Such warnings are accompanied by a link that you should click to learn more about the warning. These messages are usually spam and are intended to trick you into accessing malicious sites. You should always ignore or delete such messages since they are sent by fake followers.
It is important to have legitimate Twitter followers since the platform has grown to be an official communication channel being used by renowned leaders. Also, brands are looking for people with real followers to promote their products. A user with many fake followers cannot satisfactorily promote a product since there is little engagement with people. Twitter Inc. is always looking for ways to eliminate fake accounts with no benefits to the people they are following. Besides the effort made by the company to eliminate fake followers, you should use the above guidelines to identify and eliminate fake followers.