Last Sunday morning seemed like any other. I got up, pressed the on button on the coffee maker and awaited my normal rapid and lengthy infusion of coffee bliss as I started up the laptop in the office. I moved to the family room so I could hear if the baby boy woke up and began to open my normal and numerous tabs that are always running when I am in the pilot seat.
As usual I started in Hootsuite, checking follows and mentions, then migrated to counts from overnight. WHAT? I went from 48,176 followers to nearly 75,000 followers. Alarm bells sounded as I stared at it, my mind racing…
Someone has purchased followers for my Twitter account. Clearly this is an attempt to discredit my solid reputation in the industry. Who could have done such a thing, I wondered?
Knowing I have no enemies in this business, there is only one single person that has any motivation to do this to me. Can it be proven? No, so we will not worry about the who and simply move to what YOU need to know if some crazed bully, freak does this to you or your brand, or if a client of yours happens to buy some twitter followers to “help you” in your social media marketing efforts of their brand.
Before we cover how to handle these two scenarios, let me first answer a question I know some of you are thinking…
How is it even possible for someone to purchase followers for another persons Twitter account?
Trust me it is all too simple. Just take a look at the tons of fake followers on the Presidential candidates Twitter accounts using the Status People’s Faker App. Do you think these two campaigns are dumb enough to purchase followers? Of course not, their many emotionally charged supporters are doing it on their behalf, to either discredit the other side or to make their candidate appear more popular.
Regardless, Twitter does NOT allow purchasing of fake followers. So no company selling such followers would ever be allowed access to the twitter API for their product. Therefore, all that is required to purchase followers is your credit card and the Twitter name of the account you wish to buy followers for. No validation of ownership, no required login to the effected Twitter account. Nothing.
In the case of influential social media professionals, they know better than to buy fake followers. Anyone in this business that speaks at events, consults brands or manages other clients social media programs that actually know what they are doing, would never buy or leave purchased followers on their account. That shows a complete incompetence. In fact, I have heard the “I’ve been hacked excuse” by such fraudulent social media experts, in order to cover up their fake follower purchases. But let’s say that occurred (even though it’s hogwash), the question remains, why have you not removed them. Why are you falsely inflating your community size? Are you a liar, a fraud or are you just incompetent? Not too many other choices.
Enough of the rant… Here are the steps you need to take if your account has been falsely pumped up with purchased followers on Twitter:
1) Visit ManageFlitter and login
2) Make sure you’re in the Unfollow menu at the top of the page.
3) Choose “Fake Followers” on the left side.
4) Click on “Fast Select” to be able to select 100 at a time.
5) Drag the cursor across the icons to choose 100.
6) Click on “Force 100 to Unfollow You”
7) Click on the next page # button.
8) Repeat until there are no other fake followers found.
In less than a few hours I was all cleaned up and back to normal. Here’s my faker report I pulled before this occurred, anticipating this might happen.
So my message to the sick individual that wasted their money in an attempt to make me look bad, I say nice try. I am pleased to know you wasted what little money you have. You not only didn’t accomplish what you wanted to, you made my Sunday even better through the support and love shown to me by many. I am a social media professional and would NEVER leave fake followers in my Twitter community to appear influential. Why are you?
My message to the brand or individual social media user, don’t purchase fake followers on Twitter in order to look influential. You will be caught by someone eventually and only ruin your brand and reputation. If you are harassed by someone, or your client has purchased followers that you need to get removed, you now know the process, tool and steps to do so quickly.