Clues to recognise a follower purchase

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Agent 007


Many brands and companies use follower buying to boost their audience with an artificial community. This practice hijacks the normal system, which is why it is prohibited by most social networks. However, there are obvious signs that a follower purchase is taking place.

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How to recognise the purchase of followers on Twitter?

Buying followers is a practice that is considered illegal. Twitter is one of the social networks that is declaring war on fake followers. Thanks to the API of the microblogging site Twitter, it is possible to recognise the purchase of followers. It analyses the language, country, number of tweets, time zone of accounts, etc.

There are also social networking statistics sites that can help spot an account with several fake followers. For example, if 90% of the followers of a French reality TV account are Chilean, there is a high probability that the follower seller is working with Chile. Other parameters can also be analysed, such as an abnormal increase in followers. Also, profiles without avatars, accounts that do not tweet, and accounts with very few followers are studied, and this in relation to the nature of the followers' accounts. 

In addition, platforms such as Twitter Audit offer an assessment of a percentage of fake followers of a Twitter account. Although these sites are not always accurate, a high number of "fakes" among the followers of the account in question is enough to make users suspicious of questionable practices. 

According to investigations, many fake followers follow several thousand accounts, but they do not respond when challenged. They also do not retweet messages and when they do tweet, it becomes a big mess. They post ready-made sentences in different languages. Some of them even seem to have fallen asleep on their keyboards, using "fleededegetgenddkelfkn" and other robot neologisms. This kind of incoherence is a clear sign of follower buying.

How to recognise the purchase of followers on Instagram?

In today's world, influencer marketing has become an essential tool for many companies and brands. It has even become very popular due to its naturalness, as it is all about delivering a message through an influencer. When looking for Instagram influencers for your marketing campaign, it is important to analyse their Instagram account to make sure they are really influencers or if they are buying fake followers. If the latter is the case, it's not a good idea to work with them. Fortunately, there are ways to identify such influencers.

Thanks to the Heepsy site, you can easily detect influencers with fake followers. Some elements are analysed there that will allow you to discover the quality of an influencer's Instagram profile. The first analysis object concerns the evolution curve of the number of followers of an Instagram influencer. You will discover the evolution of the number of followers of the influencer in question over the last year. If you see peaks in the number of followers or a sudden drop, this is the first sign that followers may have been purchased. The other possibility is that a competition has been organised that requires subscribers to the account to win. To find out for sure, you can visit his account as the date of the peak is displayed. 

The other criterion is the engagement rate. This is the rate of interaction that followers have with an influencer. This is measured by the number of likes, comments or views of a video for example. If the engagement rate is low, it means that his followers are not interested in his content and therefore less interesting. On Heepsy, you can check whether the engagement rate is low, medium or high. 

How to recognize the purchase of followers on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is not immune to the phenomenon of fake followers. This network is also fighting against these fake profiles by deleting them. In fact, almost 33.7 million fake accounts were deleted in 2020. There are several characteristics to recognize a fake account linked to a purchase of followers on LinkedIn. 

Among these characteristics, we can observe :

  • Low profile completion rate: i.e. no profile pictures, no cover photo, no or little title information, no visual pins, no links, no experience mentioned, no skills, etc.
  • A very low number of relationships with even an oddly high proportion of relationships in common.
  • Non-professional e-mail address.
  • Fake verification badge, especially in the profile picture or title field.
  • No or little feedback from comments, shares and posts seen in the activity part of the profile.
  • A Google search of the first or last name does not show any results other than the LinkedIn profile.
  • Use of a duplicate name, surname or photo.
  • Company name not found except on LinkedIn.
  • No response or inadequate response when you send a message like "Do I know you?"or "Can I help you?".
  • Instant request for conversation outside of LinkedIn.

If an account is full of such subscribers, it has made a subscriber purchase. 

Buying followers is a way to acquire a certain number of followers to launch a brand or business. However, social networks have put in place foolproof techniques to recognize the purchase of followers. Especially since this type of practice is illegal. My Name Is Bond can help you create a real engaged community on social networks.

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