The Harmful Effects of Fake Followers
In the world of social media and influencer marketing, having a large following has become a measure of success and influence. However, pursuing a large following has given rise to a troubling phenomenon: fake followers.
Fake followers are social media accounts that are created with the purpose of inflating someone’s follower count artificially. Sometimes referred to as “bots,” these accounts can be paid for in large numbers. While it may be tempting to increase your follower count, partaking in gaining fake followers can be detrimental to your career as a creator.
When brands and potential collaborators evaluate influencers, they often consider the size of their following as an indicator of reach and influence. However, if many of your followers are fake, it diminishes your credibility and trustworthiness as an influencer. Brands want to work with influencers with an engaged and authentic audience, and discovering fake followers can lead to losing opportunities and damaging professional relationships.
Decreases engagement rate
Fake followers don’t provide genuine engagement. They do not like, comment, or share your content because they are not real individuals with genuine interest in it. As a result, your engagement rate – which measures how actively your audience interacts with your content – will be significantly lower than it appears at first glance. Brands are increasingly aware of the importance of engagement, and a low engagement rate due to falsified followers can raise concerns about the effectiveness of a collaboration.
Hinders audience insights
Your audience is a valuable asset as an influencer. It helps you understand who your content resonates with, what viewers like, and what they engage with. However, when a significant portion of your audience consists of fake followers, it becomes challenging to gather accurate insights. Understanding your real audience’s preferences and needs is crucial for creating content that genuinely resonates with them, and these followers can skew your understanding and impact your content strategy negatively.
Jeopardizes long-term growth
Building a sustainable creator career relies on organic growth and genuine connections with your audience. When bots are part of your audience, assessing your growth and making data-driven decisions becomes more challenging. It’s important to remember that a small, engaged, and authentic audience is much more valuable than a large but inactive or fake following. Prioritizing real engagement and meaningful connections with your audience fosters long-term growth and success.
Hurts industry reputation
The prevalence of fake followers in the influencer industry not only harms individual creators but also tarnishes the industry’s reputation as a whole. When brands or marketers encounter influencers with bot followers, it reinforces the perception that influencer marketing is untrustworthy or ineffective. It becomes harder for genuine creators to establish themselves and for the industry to gain credibility when these accounts undermine the authenticity and integrity of the influencer space.
Increasingly, brands are seeking partnerships with influencers with smaller followings. Having a smaller following allows creators to get closer and have a stronger relationship with their audience, meaning the collaborations are better received. If you have a small follower count, there are still ways to get partnerships!
While the allure of a large following may be tempting, creators need to recognize the damaging effects of fake followers on their careers. Fake followers harm credibility, diminish engagement rates, hinder audience insights, jeopardize long-term growth, and contribute to a negative reputation for the industry. Building an authentic and engaged audience should be the focus, as it leads to meaningful collaborations, loyal followers, and sustainable success. Remember, it’s the quality, not the quantity, of your audience that truly matters in your journey as a creator.