I’ve always wondered if my four years on Twitter was really worth it. I still haven’t reached my goal of 1,000 followers, and the number of followers seems to fluctuate each day — mostly in the wrong direction. Do people follow me because they think I’m cool, or am I just getting bots following me?
Recently, I tried out this app called Faker Scores, developed by the British social media marketing group Status People, to see how much of my Twitter followers were real and how much were not. I’m pleased to report that the app says that 90% of my followers are “Good” or genuine followers. Only 1% of my followers were fake, and 9% were inactive. I’ve beat President Obama by a long shot — 41% percent of followers were deemed to be fake.
But these numbers bring up an interesting point: can an app truly tell you how many of your followers are fake? Not completely. The developers of the app said recently that their app is not 100% accurate, especially if you’re a mega-Twitterer like Justin Bieber. But if you’ve got less than a thousand followers like me, it’s a “very accurate insight.”
However, you don’t need an app to find out how many of your Twitter followers are fakes. Here’s three signs you’ve got some fakers following you:
Does The Number of Followers Rise Dramatically In One Day?
If you said “yes,” be careful. It might not be uncommon to have days where your number of followers on your Twitter increases dramatically, but you have to ask “why.” The vast majority of Twitter users like me aren’t going to see a dramatic increase in followers — by that, I mean 10 or more followers a day — on a regular basis. If you’re getting followers with the standard egg profile photo and little or no tweets, chances are that you’re mostly dealing with bots.
Do These “Followers” Peace Out In Less Than 72 Hours?
Another way to spot Twitter fakes is by checking your numbers often. If you get an email notice that you’ve got a few new followers but find out out that they didn’t stay too long, chances are they’re faking it. It’s a bummer that you get excited about these new followers only for them to bail out or send you some questionable bit.ly hyperlink, but at least you know they weren’t worth your time anyway. Ensuring that your new followers stay longer than 72 hours will build that audience and enhance the Twitter conversation. Otherwise, you’re dealing with some fly-by-night bots.
Do They Even Remotely Come Close To Sharing Your Common Interests?
Creators should always take into account whether or not a significant portion of their Twitter followers are fake, inactive or even irrelevant. I get random follows all the time from random companies based out of places I’ve never been to. I had a Nissan Volkswagen dealership from New Jersey follow me recently. I don’t know how that happened, as I’m not keen on buying a Nissan or a Volkswagen, especially from New Jersey. My guess is they have an app that follows Twitter accounts based on certain keywords or locations, and they’re clearly off the mark with me. If your followers have wildly different interests, then you’re likely dealing with fakes or bots that always follow when you say one word they care about.
It’s important for creators to know that when they’re on Twitter, they’re talking to fans who truly care about their work. Knowledge is power, so when creators don’t know who really follows them, they’re likely trapping themselves in an echo chamber. While numbers may be important, it’s users who are tuned in that matter the most. Too bad that Twitter seems more of a numbers game rather than a community of users who value short, meaningful statements.
If you want to question the validity of my score, you can tweet me at @edfcarrasco or comment below.