I’ve seen it over and over again; diseased social media accounts.
It started with a facebook account that just wouldn’t perform despite my best efforts. After winning the account, we took over the client’s social media account from its former agency, I just didn’t know we were stepping into something bad. No award winning content or smooth talking engagement would lift the effectiveness levels on the analytic report. The TAT score was always lower than 2% and more times even lower despite the massive numbers of new likes and engagements. Social media being the most result calculated advertising platform; numbers do the talking, and when one of the number is far from the agreed KPI, its never good.
One Sunday morning I decided to spend the whole day in front of the laptop, breaking apart that social media account. Why are the TAT scores and the reach scores low. This also applied to their twitter account. With over 5k followers, a reach that low just doesn’t make sense.
I went straight to the bottom, analyzing the social media’s past activities (before we took over), the comments, the likes, to each facebook accounts that ever engaged with the page and still left their traces behind. I extended my search to the apps they used, their google analytics, traffic, etc. What I found was horrific.
Out of the 1607 facebook accounts I checked that ever engaged (commented, like, share, etc) 1092 of them was a fake/dormant account. All happened when the social media account held quizzes, like games (now banned by facebook), photo tags (also banned by facebook) and other events to drive new likes to their page with lucrative prizes like gadgets or tickets.
So if I took that amount and made it as a focused group model over the previous 18k amount of fans, that would mean around 12k of those likes could be made by fake accounts that were made on the purpose of to help win a competition the account held. This is actually common practice by quiz hunters as they are known, where its a growing community worldwide especially in Indonesia (CMIIW).
“So whats the damage? Aren’t the more likes the better?”
Put it this way. Its like having 8 friend’s phone number but only 1 actually answers any of your calls, its having 8 friends with only 1 that you can reach. The facebook page has 18.000 likes and you can only reach 6000 of them, and that is if whatever you post has a good edgerank. No matter how good your content is, only those 6000 has a possibility to engage, its a big black hole. Imagine you spend money on a targeted post to boost reach on your followers and that post appears on a fake/dormant account. Thats money wasted. Lets say it codts 50 cents per reach, thats USD$6000 down the drain.
When we reported our findings to the client, our solution was simple: delete fake fans. The client was of course held back. This means a cost for a dedicated individual to root around in the fans list to find fake accounts and deleting them, not only will they spend money, they will loose fans. The question was which would you rather have: “a social media account with fans that are interested by your product and can be reached by your messages” or “a social media with a high number of fans that you can show off but dysfunctional at delivering the messages you want to send out”?
It took a whole 2 weeks of complaints and deliberations, but we finally got the message through. However this was just the first of many. Its has now become a standard operating procedure for me when accepting new clients, even when we’re only pitching for a client that has an existing social media account. I have one of my boys or girls to do a health check on the accounts. I’ve been to a pitch where the client bragged about his awesome 2013 where he got 40.000 likes and we came with a pitch to burn more than half of those fans since they’re fake accounts. Facebook is currently doing us social media strategist a favor by deleting fake and dormant accounts, but its a slow process. I’ve witnessed a quiz hunter owning up to over 2000 fake accounts to win a competition, and some of those accounts are updated regularly to seem like a real account.
A clean and healthy social media account lets your team focus on what matters: strategy, content, edgeranks, and other creative methods to drive traffic furthermore extend the reach of your posts, engage and even create evangelists. Your ads will be worth the money you spend, and your social media content represents your brand to mass public, not to the fake ones.
If you are using a third party or an agency to manage you brand in social media, make sure they don’t buy your fans or lure fans with easy quizzes. There’s a better way to do this, a much better way.
Looking forward to your insight on this, give me your critics and comments.