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According to USA Today, President Obama has over 9 million fake followers on Twitter. This is not uncommon with politicians or celebrities.

Should authors use fake followers to inflate their numbers?

Here are four lessons you can take away from the current events surrounding Obama’s fake Twitter followers.

Lesson 1 – The Numbers Don’t Tell The Whole Story

In the old days, it was easy to bamboozle agents and publishers with a large Twitter following. This trick could still work with some less savvy publishing houses. From what I hear, some houses put the number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans on the one sheet for every author they consider signing. They would do better to also post the author’s Klout Score.

Here is a vital lesson authors and publishers need to learn:

The number of Twitter followers does not tell the whole story. Click to Tweet

Lesson 2 – How to Measure Engagement & Virality

When measuring Social Media, you need to look at more than just the size of the following. You need to look at engagement (clicks, views, plays, reads, etc.) and virality (shares, retweets, reposts, repins, etc.) as well.

Mathematically, it would look like this:

F × E × V = I

F = Following (The number of people who follow, like or circle you)
E = Engagement (The percentage of people who click, read, like, comment, watch or listen)
V = Virality (The number of people who link, retweet, share, repost or repin)
I = Influence (Your ability to change the thoughts and behavior of your followers. Businesses just use $ instead of I)

So Obama’s Following is very high (16 million), but his Engagement is low since most of those followers are not active humans.

Lesson 3 – Cheaters Will Be Caught

Fake Twitter Followers

Status People has come out with a free tool to measure fake followers.

The emergence of this “Faker Tool” could spell the end of buying followers, but I doubt it. There will always be people looking for shortcuts to greatness. But if you do buy followers, prepare yourself for the inevitable unveiling at an inconvenient point in the future. Real results take time. I’m sure President Obama would rather USA Today cover his campaign, not his fake followers.

The internet does not suffer secrets for long. Click to Tweet

Lesson 4 – Some Celebrities Cheat, Some Don’t

We ran the numbers on some top authors. Here are the results:

  1. Mary DeMuth 95% Good (1% fake; 4% inactive)
  2. Michael Hyatt 75% Good (7% fake; 18% inactive)
  3. Liz Curtis Higgs 75% Good (3% fake; 22% inactive)
  4. John Eldredge 72% Good (4% fake; 24% inactive)
  5. Ted Dekker 65% Good (7% fake; 28% inactive)
  6. Frank Perreti 63% Good (6% fake; 31% inactive)
  7. JK Rowling 53% Good (11% fake; 36% inactive)
  8. Beth Moore 50% Good (16% fake; 34% inactive)
  9. Max Lucado 46% Good (16% fake; 38% inactive)
  10. James Patterson 43% Good (13% fake; 44% inactive)

We were actually surprised to see how low the number of fake followers was for these authors. Your average politician or TV celebrity has fake numbers in 20-40% range.

How do you rank? How many of your Twitter followers are active and human?

Feel free to post your results below in the comments.

Helpful Links

Some articles to help you measure social media better.

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