Weeding Out Fake Followers

Source: stock.xchngIn an effort to maintain its position as a “genuine advertising platform” and give brands a more accurate measure of their Facebook fans, Facebook has announced that it is working to remove fraudulent Likes from spammers, malware and fake accounts. All of this follows a recent and disturbing trend of people and brands purchasing fake Likes and Twitter followers.

According to Facebook, this will likely result in about a 1% decrease in Page Likes. That’s right. Brands will likely experience a decline in the number of people who ‘Like’ their Pages. I know. This is unacceptable! …I’m kidding, of course.

This Shouldn’t Matter

It shouldn’t have to be said, but this doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s a very good thing. Whether brands encouraged it or not, there’s a very good chance that across all of their marketing channels, they have ‘dead’ leads—email addresses that are no longer active, Twitter followers who are spammers, blog subscribers who no longer pay attention and so on.

Facebook’s doing us a favor. As marketers, we should constantly work to ‘weed out’ the dead leads. This includes removing fake followers on every channel. They give a brand a false sense of where it stands and who its reaching. In fact, some bloggers actually move their blog RSS feeds by announcing it on their blogs. The people who move to the new feed are the real followers. The people who don’t weren’t paying attention anyways.

Look Beyond Vanity Metrics

All of this goes to show that metrics like ‘likes’ and followers are merely vanity metrics. They’re nice to put on a slide and to bring up at a conference, but they lack substance. In fact, as Facebook has shown, they may not truly be accurate.

The true value lies in a brand’s ability to measure the activity those numbers represent. What buyer behavior do fans and followers exhibit that others do not? Do they share more brand content? Are they more likely to buy?

Facebook Pages Should Be Communities

Facebook’s actions should help to refocus some brands out there that have gotten distracted by vanity metrics. Facebook allows brands to tap into the largest group of users ever on one platform to hopefully gain their attention, earn a ‘like’ and turn them into something more—a community of people invested in the brand and helping it succeed by sharing their personal thoughts and opinions with the brand and social connections (what a sentence!).

A marketer looking to grow a community doesn’t want vanity metrics. It wants the brand’s closest advocates to build the foundation of a community that can maximize Facebook’s potential.