Buying Facebook Fake Friends, Twitter Bogus Followers: Big Business of Buying Social Media Metrics– Do They Add Value…

Buying fake Facebook friends, bogus Twitter followers, false LinkedIn connections… they don’t contribute anything… they don’t add value… but, increases social media metrics, if that’s important to you…

Buying Facebook fake friends, Twitter bogus followers… and other social networking site metrics– increases popularity: Or, do they?

According to wikihow; the practice of buying followers, friends… is fairly simple. Using most any search engine, just type-in ‘buy Twitter followers’ and it produces pages of website links where you can buy thousands of Facebook, Twitter… friends, followers… Then, simply key in information and within a matter of hours, days… see the number of your friends, followers… increase by hundreds, thousands… Although, having fake followers does not necessarily mean that they were bought, and unlike Facebook friends that need to be approved, anyone can follow a user on Twitter, from a close relative to a spammer…

According to Lee Stacey; growing an ‘engaged followers base’ is essential for using Twitter to get your message out there... and it’s common practice for measuring a brand’s popularity, i.e., popularity is a measure of success. But, what if that measure isn’t real? What if those followers had been bought, rather than earned. Does it change things? From outside looking in, new followers are just incremental change to the popularity meter and your followers count.

However, fake followers have zero engagement value; even though it’s widely believed that increased numbers will increase engagement just through a belief of popularity. However, Google may be on to the scheme– it appears that inflated Twitter follower counts actually have a negative effect on search engine ranking, and even Twitter is talking about using other measures to indicate genuine social influence.

A recent study revealed that increasing the Twitter follower count by 1,000 would lead to more than a 1 place drop in Google search ranking… Since the fakes are often quite obvious it’s pretty easy to see who is buying followers. Also, the practice of buying fake followers has become such widespread, that London-based social media company developed  a web tool, named the ‘Fake Follower Check’ that can detect the number of fake followers that a user or their friends may have accumulated on their Twitter account…

According to Barracuda Labs; it’s worth bearing in mind that the fakes could have been bought by a savvy opponent that is aware of the negative impact that this could have in search results and with the press, when word gets out... Looking at all evidence, it would appear that the negatives outweigh the positives. With no engagement, fake followers provide very little value in themselves.

In the article The Business of Buying Social Media Followers by educationpr writes: There are two types of followers that industry recognizes, and they are ‘targeted’ followers, and ‘generated’ or ‘bots’ followers. ‘Targeted’ followers are retrieved using software that recognizes similar interests (with that of a user) and follows them on Twitter, and they may in turn follow the user back. ‘Generated’ followers are retrieved using accounts that are inactive or from spamming to generate followers.

Many online websites, such as; ‘Fiverr’, ‘InterTwitter’, ‘USocial’…  are offering the sale of Twitter fake followers, online. Also, people can buy fake Twitter followers for a friend… For example, Fiverr offers the sale of up to 3,200 followers for only $5.00. ‘InterTwitter’ offers for sale up to 1,000 Twitter followers for $14.00 and 2,500 followers for $26.00… ‘Followersale’ offers up to 15,000 followers for $39.00 and 25,000 followers for $69.00… So why do business buy fake followers?

New online business such as ‘MyTab’ bought 2,500 followers on ‘Fiverr’ for $5.00, and subsequently saw their actual members increase by thousands in their Twitter and Facebook accounts. The company got the popular boost that they wanted… Also, followers are usually bought by; celebrities, rock stars, stand-up comedians, actors/ actresses, even politician, and anyone who would benefit from having a wider social media footprint, without actually having to keep up their social network ties…

In the article Buying Facebook Friends: Should You Do It? by Eric Yaverbaum writes: In the age of social media, brands are willing to go to great lengths to improve their online clout. But is there any real value to ‘buy’ friends in the form of likes on Facebook? There are several Web sites with offers to buy likes for the brand: Just pay a fee that varies depending on how many fans you want to add. These services provide Facebook users with shopping coupons, games, other offers in exchange for liking the page. People like the page in exchange for something free, which seems like an effective, creative marketing ploy. But, the users have to do something in order to get the free item, and that free item has absolutely nothing to do with the person or the brand.

According to Cindy Morrison; I don’t suggest taking this route for a variety of reasons. First of all, social media is all about engaging and reaching the target audience. Going willy-nilly just to get bigger number of followers defeats the purpose. It’s better to grow your audience by giving something of value… Morrison has a valid point: Paying for likes may not get you clout or influence you seek at all. It may just get you ‘empty clout’. You’ll end up with a high number of likes on the page, but they’ll be from people who don’t actually like you.

So, while you can brag about having 2,000 followers on the page, in reality, those people have absolutely no intention of engaging with you or the brand… If all you want is a higher number of followers, fine. But, if you want people to actually care about the brand, then you should probably think twice before paying for likes. It’s important to remember Facebook measures clout with a thing called the ‘EdgeRank Score’. When you buy likes for the page, those fans will probably never engage with the content, i.e., commenting, sharing… it. When no one engages with the content, it actually lowers the ‘EdgeRank Score’, meaning that the brand is unlikely to be featured in a ‘news feed’, which means the only way a person sees the content is by going directly to the page.

The point is you should measure your social media strategy against what is realistic and achievable. Morrison adds; I’ve had social media strategy clients request that I buy them fans. But I’ve always resisted. When you look at analytics (Insights on Facebook), it just looks less than honest. Ten thousand fans in a month? Come on! I want real results that prove we’re gaining ground with new followers, building a great relationship with current customers and letting people develop true brand loyalty. People want to do business with those they know and trust. Fake fans will do neither. In sum, you may spend $300 for 10,000 Facebook likes, but ‘return on investment’ (ROI) may actually be very low– because none of those fans really like you at all…

In the article How To Buy A Ton of Twitter Followers by Sam Biddle writes: Search for ‘Twitter’ and you’ll find accounts across the globe offering to set you up with– hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of Twitter followers. All for five bucks a pop. It may vary from day-to-day, but at $5 via PayPal will net you anywhere from 400 to 80,000 new followers after a few days, hours… of processing: That’s a lot of followers! With that many followers, what could stop you in life?

But, let’s make one thing clear: These aren’t real followers. They don’t actually exist… they’re robot accounts, automatically herded toward your username via software. They won’t retweet, favorite, reply, or make a single Twitter ripple. They’re inert– mere numbers on a page. The best have awesome-obvious fake names like; ‘Demeulemeester Omayr’, ‘Bumford Rahmel’… And, the worst are gibberish, for example; ‘DiofghdfhuuIudf is now following you’. So, how does it work?

According to reputable hackers: Generally, they are compromised twitter accounts acquired with botnets, where they run script to make the accounts follow the profile in question. Not very complicated… For some businesses, people, celebrities… a large bulge in the online numbers is very important: Whether its views on YouTube video, Facebook likes, Twitter followers It’s shameful, but Twitter followers translate into something vaguely impressive. Should it? No, not really– who you truly are online should be the ‘quality’ of followers, not ‘quantity’… And yet– we like big things, and Twitter followers are an increasing barometer of influence.

If prospective employer looks you up and sees your big-shot Twitter stats, you might even land a job. Can I get in trouble: No. There’s nothing illegal about this, and doesn’t appear to violate Twitter’s terms of service. Since the accounts aren’t actually spamming anyone, and it’s doubtful Twitter has reason to go after this kind of operation. But, it’s fun to buy hordes of followers for unsuspecting friends…

Every social network site has metrics which can be misinterpreted, over emphasized and false measures… On Facebook it’s likes and friends and on Twitter followers is the lowest hanging vanity metric. According to postjoe; buying Twitter followers is a ‘black hat’ social media tactic and of particular interest because of its multi-faceted negative impact. If traffic is the goal, then buying Twitter followers is counter productive: Twitter is aware of the practice and able to tell real from robot. Google likewise can easily sniff out bogus followers. Google already weighs social media for SEO rankings. And with ‘Panda’ Google is obviously aware of bogus/spam account holders and is actively lowering the Google Page Rank of content farmed accounts. Seeing value of social media requires looking beyond simple metrics…

The key is to understand the social media ecosystem. Twitter users who are actively engaged can identify fake users in seconds, e.g., an account with 10K followers, 35 tweets, 3 retweets, 4 mentions, is not an account to follow. It’s an account to avoid. Not only will Twitter users be inclined to avoid bogus account and it’s army of robot followers it also diminishes your credibility: Credibility is trust. But credibility is also culture (taste).

Being credible, trusted, and tasteful is essential at every level of business… and, engaged employees will recoil from being represented online with bogus social media tactics. Also, consider the fact that social networks are quickly gathering a level of garbage that must be sorted and discarded to get to the real value… and not only will real engaged Twitter users not appreciate bogus followers, but fake followers don’t add value. Fake followers don’t contribute anything, and ultimately fake followers don’t buy products…

According to Nik Hewitt; there are many services that sell just about anything to boost the ranks of the social channels-followers, friends, likes, views, connections… if numbers are all you care about…

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