3 ways to tell if your competitors bought their followers

Earlier this week at our monday meeting we started talking about a newsletter that boasts more than 30,000 subscribers. As we discussed how they amassed such an impressive following so quickly things began to not add up.

The team at Visaya would like to share some advice on how to spot accounts with not-so-legit followers. Although I cannot deny the value of social proof that followers provide, I do believe the value has a limit. Remember, if you are a new startup working to build up a social media following, take it slow and do it the right way. It will pay off in the end


1. Their follower count is high but their engagement is low

Hypothetically, you come across an Instagram account that has 20,000 followers but only 50 likes on a picture. I think we all know for sure there is something fishy going on here.

But it can be tricky judging by a simple ratio. There are a lot of different variables to take into consideration. A personal account with around 1,000 followers may receive 500 likes on a picture. This is because friends and family are a very engaged audience.

For example, another variable to consider is the industry. A b2b brand that sells vacuums will probably have a much lower ratio than a hip doughnut shop.

2. They are new to the platform or a brand new startup but have somehow amassed a massive following overnight

This is important to watch out for. Take for instance, you want to advertise your products on a weekly newsletter that boasts a subscriber list of 25,000. You would of course be willing to pay far more for an ad spot in a newsletter that has a subscriber list of 1,000. But what if they both had the same open rate of 700? Asking questions about their open rate and clickthrough rate is vital before placing an ad.

3. There’s an app for that!

There are actually a couple apps on the market that can determine if an account has fake followers. For example, Twitter Audit will let you know how many of your own followers are real.

It is important to remember the purpose of social media. It is to CONNECT with your potential buyers or to provide a handheld extension of your brand identity.

A twitter bot is incapable of buying your products and could not care less about your brand. – Bailey Keogh


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Visaya Startup Blog