Is social media all faked?

It’s not unusual to hear complaints of companies engineering their social media presence, and I’ve blogged about some of the offers I’ve received to bolster my twitter account with fake followers. And some analysts are trying to quantify the trend: Gartner has suggested that 10 to 15 percent of social media reviews will be faked in the next couple of years.

But there is some good news: this social spam might start to disappear because it simply doesn’t work. The LA Times has an interesting article that claims film studios are losing interest in Facebook campaigns that ask people to “like” a film, because the approach simply doesn’t show a good return on the cost of the campaign. Perhaps everyone is wising-up to what is actually going on, and won’t be fooled by likes that are obtained with bribery. Whilst we’re a long way from all marketers dropping the shadier side of social media, hopefully we’ll see more and more people focusing on genuine social recommendations rather than using fakes to make the numbers in their marketing reports look good.

10,000 Twitter Followers for just £99

I recently received an offer by email of “10,000 Twitter Followers for just £99”. Oh dear! The company also offers spam followers on Google+, fake Facebook likes and imaginary YouTube views.
You’ve got to assume that the company behind this is making money, and at £99, that means that they have a lot of people buying 10,000 spam followers. But how can anyone fall for this: whilst seeing a large number of followers presumably massages some peoples’ egos, surely the realisation that you have 10,000 people ignoring you must eventually hit home.
Offers like this show the problems of poor objectives, particularly in the social media space. Whilst it’s possible to “cheat” on many marketing metrics, social media seems to be particularly vulnerable to poor quality metrics. Marketing managers need to think carefully about the objectives they set: just one relevant and engaged follower would be so much better than the 10,000 that you’d get from this offer!