Padded numbers via the Social Media Experts
Read an article on SocialMediaToday. It was written by Pam Moore who had received an email from a “Social media expert” and explained how she can master the art and get massive follower numbers.
Pearls of Wisdom such as :
Thats just the start, when you have finished reading this, head over and read the full article here.
This got me thinking and yet again pissed me off with the various fly by night, snake oil salesmen in social media today. The dipshits that cause damage in agencies and in educating clients
Pam’s article is very relevant in the fact that there are still people out there that think a follower count or fan count is what success is. I have seen this with clients, agencies and even people I have worked with. It amazes me that even now, after all the articles and debates, that people are still thinking that those numbers mean the campaign is successful.
If a client briefs me and says they want loads of followers I push back, I explain that that is a shit goal. I could buy 10,000 followers or signup up to some pyramid scheme right now and by the time I have finished this posting I will have the numbers I want. (More on the number padding in a bit) So, then these individuals would assume we have reached our target, or I have more followers than that bloke so I’m better.
You have basically sent out an invite to loads of people that have said they are coming to your party, so you have loads of RSVPs – yet on the big day, no one turns up. And if they do, they probably don’t speak your language, have no idea what the party is about, are robotic and humanless.
My team recently inherited a campaign who’s facebook numbers were through the roof. A small, UK based campaign. There weren’t any amazing posts, no exclusives, no fangate that may have increased a few likes here and there yet they were at 600,000 fans. This jumped up about 500 every 25 minutes. We knew something was up, so as soon as we were given admin rights we went straight into insites and discovered 85% of the fanbase was in Indonesia (I could have told you this based on the non english weird text posted in any comments on the wal). Second to that – the UK wasn’t even registering on the demographics report. Its a UK launch… This same client brags about these numbers in an email signature.
So, Mr Client…. you have 600,000 fans…. now what? Based on the data you will probably be hosting your launch party in Indonesia. I would also recommend you change your branding into something other than english. Now my team and I have to clean this up. Our data is already flawed before we even compile it. It basically says you have amazing numbers yet none of which are your target audience, in your target location. Therefore when ROI, or merely attribution to awareness comes around the social will probably look shit.
Which brings me to the crappy sites that sell these number padding services, the ‘Social Media experts” that brag about numbers and how they have them and the clients that see this as a measure of success. Want to buy some, google Buy Followers – look at all the crap. These services are used by individuals to make themselves look amazing at social media. Thats the first problem, that they think having a shitload of followers you assume they are just brilliant. You can have a look at anyone thats doing social for you, be it an individual or agency.
A little test next time you speak to that SM ninja or amazing agency. Go to twitter counter and run a report on thier followers for the past 6 months. See that spike :
Thats probably the day they signed up for the number padding tool. Go a step further and head over to topsy (advanced search), add thier twitter handle, the dates….see what they said that day. Did they have an amazing never seen before exclusive image of Justin bieber? A profound tweet that amazed all and was retweeted by the masses? Or was it something mundane like….oh a mashable link, or a “Daily is out”. What this will tell you is that something dodgy went on here. Granted, maybe they tried promoted trends, or promoted followers, or promoted tweets – but at 25k a pop, I doubt it.
When I first tried twitter, think it was just under 4 years ago, I signed up to one of these pyramid schemes – thought thats what people do, wasn’t really doing SM at the time either so I figured this is what needs to be done. Within minutes I was up 250 followers, wow, then another 250… then I looked at who these people were, what their tweets were… they had all signed up to the same thing. So in the long run I would be talking to no one. What with lists, tweetdeck filters I probably wasn’t even displaying in their feeds. I spent the next week or two deleting them all. I think there may be remnants lurking in my followers now.
A friend that works at another Social media agency contacted me on skype regarding a pitch he was working on. Seems the rival agency had bought youtube views to show the potential client how amazing they were. I mean the clients clip was some shitty TV ad, nothing even remotely interesting – yet it had 17,000 views in 48 hours. Looking into its data, no content drove anything there, 100 likes, no comments. Whats the point? Honestly, when you are sitting at your desk, and the agency has sent you Look 17,000 views! What did you really get? What actually resulted from that? Nothing. So my friend simply uploaded a mundane non-impactful video, bought views and posted up. In two days he collected 25,000 views. Sent it over to the client to prove how dodgy it is. Anyone can buy those numbers, its the quality that matters, its who is talking, and how they are sharing.
SM is a slow burn, it takes time to build the quality audiences.Tap into the influencers that will help spread the word, engaging with them and not just some simple Hi, do you like my shoes – please like . The engagement grows, if they don’t bite, you move on. Its an amazing thing when your quality audience starts running things for you, bigging up the product, telling their mates, sharing clips, generating content, revisiting, loyal and passionate. How many of your 30, 000 over night fans are doing that, and in english. I stress to my clients all the time its quality not quantity. People that are interested, loyal and even love the product or brand you are promoting will do just that, promote it for you. An empty room is not going to do that job
I love what I do, and I don’t claim to be a ‘ninja’ its just frustrasting when clients or agencies are missing out on the amazing things Social Media can do for them, how it integrates with every single piece of media and how it works on its own.
While I was writing this (about a week ago) Olivier Blanchard, great blog, reposted this article. - Where my article here may be a vent, his explains it very well : A tale of two agency social media models – via The Brandbuilder
Follow me here : @vincenthaywood (only if you are quality of course and not a bot)