Clients want likes. Lots of likes. And big hits on their youtube videos. And there are plenty of social media experts who will tell you that quantity is key. Here's the thing. Quantity is very very easy to manipulate.
Take that brand with millions of likes. They're fakin'.
Take that viral video with gazillions of views. Guess what? There are services out there to help you in your fakin'.
Which brings us to Twitter and a brand new app from Status People that allows you to call out the fakers. Okay it's actually meant to show how many followers of your own are fake but c'mon. Does anybody really believe Justin Bieber has 26 million real followers? Dude most likely doesn't even update the thing himself. He pays people to do it for him.
The problem is for the millions of Beliebers who do. They're the young, impressionable, and easily duped.
The Status People acknowledge the Fakers app is better suited for those with 10,000 followers or less, but they say it can still be used for larger numbers. As the site says:
"If you're very 'popular' the tool will still provide good insight but may better reflect your current follower activity rather than your whole follower base."
Still. We expect pop stars to inflate their numbers to match their egos. But what about brands? A quick run through of some of the largest on twitter provided these unscientific but still telling results:
The first on the list is the brand supposedly best at social media. Starbucks Coffee:
23% Fake. 41% inactive = 64% crap.
Lets' try Nike
20% Fake. 37% Inactive = 57% crap.
Again it may be unscientific, but you can still get a good sense of what's what.
On the flip side, what brands seem legit?
4% fake, 39% inactive = Majority, real.
9% Fake, 35% inactive = Majority, real.
13% fake 34% inactive = Majority, real. But just barely.
What I love is Status People's rationale for wanting to do this:
...there are a growing number of Fakers out there. People who buy followers in a vain attempt to build legitimacy. "Look at me I have 20,000 followers, I must know my..." They are essentially trying to game the system and it's important for you to be able to spot them, and steer clear of them. Because ultimately if you're willing to lie about how many friends you have you are not a very trustworthy individual.
In conclusion, huge numbers don't mean much. It's quality not quantity. And just because a lot of brands seem to be on the transparency bandwagon, it doesn't mean they're not fakin'. And as much as social media wizards wants us to believe, engagement is not an organic process.