The answer is yes.
If you love Twitter, this will hurt a bit. Twitter is fake. Meaning, not all of those followers you see there are real, and as many as 1 in 10 are fake accounts.
Here’s a little from the recent NBC news story…
1 in 10 Twitter accounts is fake, say researchers…
Twitter does try to prevent bogus accounts by enforcing a strict follower-to-following ratio, and by putting a 1,000-person cap on the number of people that any one account can follow in a single day.
But a robust market for fake followers still exists.
Here’s more information on fake Twitter followers from Business Insider…
This summer, there were 20 million fake accounts for sale on Twitter, the WSJ says. The paper has previously noted that even some mainstream media brands, like Mashable, appear to be followed by large armies of bots.
The quality of Twitter’s userbase is the one issue that the company seems unable to solve. Business Insider reported earlier this month that 651 million people have opened accounts on Twitter and then abandoned them; a number far greater than the 232 million “monthly active users” the company reports in its SEC disclosures. The company publicly discloses that about 5% of its user base is fake.
All of this recent coverage in the news came at a time of doing my own research for my Twitter accounts, and how to make them perform better for my business.
Twitter has always been an under-performer in traffic results for quite some time, and when you’re getting more established online year after year in business, this shouldn’t be the case.
I admit putting Twitter more on the back-burner to Facebook, and always felt a bit frustrated by the constant spammy tweets, and a general lack of community and engagement there. But, you can’t ignore these free powerhouses online when it comes to business marketing. That would be silly.
Instead, a new focus on Twitter was my goal a few weeks ago, and I researched what I could do.
First, I enlisted a new tool called Justunfollow.com. This free tool, tells you which Twitter followers are inactive, which followers don’t follow you back, who are your fans that you might follow, and grow your community. You also get to copy followers based on specific niches, so it seemed like this was going to do the trick.
The Justunfollow tool was great at first–really cleaning up my business accounts with the dead beats, and it felt like some genuine followers were building for a bit. There was still the lack of time to really invest on Twitter, and that is when all businesses look for outsourcing services to help.
What’s my favorite outsourcing resource? Fiverr.com. I knew there would be something there to help a business boost its Twitter accounts and community.
In the meantime, I should also tell you that I purchased a Twitter ad for business. It performed very poorly, and was quite expensive. Especially, when you know how well Facebook does for your money, targeting and conversions.
So, back to Fiverr.com. There were numerous Twitter services to browse through. This is when I figured out what was really going on with Twitter and the fake accounts.
Is Twitter Fake?
There are tons of services promising a certain number of followers, and when they also advertise that they don’t need a log in from you, that told me something. This is not really a community building service that you are outsourcing as a business. These services are able to just add Twitter followers and accounts easily.
Many of the services offered, claim to have thousands of subscribers(meaning Twitter followers who are most likely fake), and you can pay for an ad to reach them.
Then, there was one that stood out to me. It claimed that the followers would stay forever.
It went on to explain that anyone telling you they can get all of these followers is lying, and that they are all fake accounts, and to not listen to them based on the 50 follower/day limit, which I knew from using Justunfollow. This service was doing its best to offer fully disclosed fake followers that were not prone to Twitter elimination, and would be there always, and to specifically pad your numbers.
I appreciated the honesty of that service very much, but all of this was a new fake world on Twitter, that didn’t exist until then.
Is Twitter Fake?
Then, it all started to make sense. That’s why Twitter seems void of any genuine connections. That’s why after cleaning up my accounts with Justunfollow, and trying to copy followers in my specific niches to build a better network, there were little to no responses and reciprocation.
That’s why running through my stream(which gives me non-follower tweets too), to try to re-tweet something interesting and relevant is very difficult. That’s why my Twitter ad performed so poorly.
Even before all of this Fake Twitter was revealed, the sub-culture of the audience there brings questions. Do they really pay attention, or is everyone just tweeting to tweet? How much time do you spend reading tweets on Twitter, or are you just tweeting to tweet, because you can? It’s a bit like a video game or a slot machine isn’t it? Just that repetitive, addictive motion that draws you in.
So what does all of this Fake Twitter mean for your business?
Obviously, don’t waste your time on ads. Also, don’t get so worked up about it. There are likely decent pockets of real people there on Twitter, and you may find them some day, but don’t spend a lot of time on it. Maybe you happen to have them already. There are many more important things you could be doing for your business than thinking about and trying to create conversions on Twitter.
Should you quit Fake Twitter altogether?
Honestly, I’m considering it. There’s no time for it, and now my latest extra efforts proved to be pretty futile, and completely corroborated by the news reports. Shifting over to social media venues which truly show me traffic like StumbleUpon and Pinterest would be wiser. Google+ is going to be huge, and I’m making that a staple along with Facebook.
On the other hand, it won’t hurt to just let the accounts sit, and see how all of this Fake Twitter plays out, before deleting anything. For certain, even less time will be spent there.
Fake Twitter will have to fix this, but can they? If you’re a trader on the stock market, my advice would be to short Twitter stock. You could end up making up for the years of time you spent on Fake Twitter with the right bet.
Everyone has different experiences of course, but these are mine, and my opinions. I’d love to hear what you all think of this!