They’re out there and they make me cringe — people who have a large number of fake Twitter followers who then claim to have influence because of their number of Twitter followers.   What makes me cringe even more are brand marketers who fall for these fakers and give them the time of day.

Why should you care?

A person’s Influence is more than just the number of Twitter followers they have

First of all and most importantly, you should care about more than JUST the number of followers someone has on Twitter (or their Klout score or JUST their website for that matter) when selecting influencers to work with.  There are many more factors that you should be looking at.  When I’m working on an influencer campaign, I look at the whole picture — but that’s another blog post for another day.  Back to the issue at hand…..

People who amass fake followings lack integrity.   

Touting a fake following is straight out lying.  Why would you want to work with someone who is a liar.  Who knows what else they would lie about.

Paying for fake reach is a waste of money.  

This one explains itself.  If you think someone is reaching 100,000 followers on Twitter and only 20% of them are real, then you’re throwing away money that could be better allocated someplace else.

So how can you spot someone who has a large fake following?

My favorite tool is They take a sampling from up to 100,000 Twitter followers and determine how many are fake.  The signs they look for are:

  • Egg as profile pic
  • High ratio of people the accounts follow vs how many follow the account
  • # of tweets (fake profiles tend to have a low number of tweets)

They also look for the last time the accounted tweeted to flush out inactive accounts.  They use all of this information to determine how many fake followers a particular account has.  I use this tool all the time when determining if I’m going to work with someone or not.  Let me make it clear that it’s ONE of the tools I use.  I’ll talk more about social media tools in a future post.

AAACK!! You have a large number of fake followers and you have no idea how that happened.

No worries, it happens to the best of us!  Stay tuned ’till next week when I’ll share how you can clean-up your Twitter following.