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Bigger is Better.

Fake it ’til you make it.

The notion that we are better, prettier and more important if we have MORE of something is prevalent in just about every aspect of life. In the social media realm, this rule seems to also apply. But one way that social media differs from most everything else is that you can pretty easily create the false impression that you in fact have more, even though you actually do not.

How?

By purchasing fake social media LIKEs and followers.

Why Fake Social Media Followers can Damage your Reputation

Buying fake social media followers is not a new thing. Luckily, it is not a widely-practiced behavior either. But for those who are desperate enough to want to create the appearance of prestige and “social proof”, all they need to do is open their pocketbooks and keep their fingers crossed they don’t get caught!

(Note: Purchasing fake followers is against most if not all social media platforms’ Terms of Service)

There is a local individual who I’ve watched move through a few phases with his Twitter account. He began with your typical, legitimate Twitter account, then shifted to playing the numbers game, then to flat-out buying around 18,000 Twitter followers.

How do I know he did that?

Because he went from 4,000-ish followers to nearly 23,000 in a matter of weeks.

Then he turned around and unfollowed a bunch of people, leaving just a few hundred that he currently follows.

Anyone who has been around Twitter for any length of time knows that you don’t have Following/Follower ratios like he does without being some sort of legitimate Twitter celebrity (at least in your niche). And it’s that appearance of “celebrity” and importance that he is trying to achieve by buying his fake Twitter followers, then dumping most of those he follows back.

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I was recently contacted by a friend who asked me to take a look at a suspicious Facebook trend she noticed with a local business. This business exists in a town of just 39,000. The numbers below speak for themselves.

On March 22, 2013, this business had 453 LIKEs.

fake-social-media-followers

By August 12, 2013, this business had skyrocketed to 69,318 LIKEs.

purchased-fake-facebook-likes

Here’s a look at their entire Facebook Fan Page existence:

Facebook-like-growth

This business has gone so far as to advertise their number of LIKEs on their website and in their store, claiming they are the most loved business of their type in the United States on Facebook.

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Social media may make it pretty easy to fake “success”, but it makes it pretty easy to spot all those fakers, too. Any customer can visit any of your profiles and see what kind of growth you’ve gone through, and can search through your social media feeds to see what kind of engagement and true impact you are making with your customers.

Remember: Your social proof is out there, for good or bad. So just don’t do it.

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