In today’s fast-paced internet culture, gaining an audience has never been easier. The days of passing out fliers and business cards are almost obsolete. Advertising on websites, social media, and email lists have become the new billboard. Engaging with your audience has also become safe and convenient. With the number of options at one’s disposal, getting a following becomes much less difficult and taxing.
Unfortunately, this ease of engagement comes with a price tag of its own. While it may be easier to engage with audiences online, you’re very likely to come up with many obstacles along the path to success in any given platform you choose. Whether you’re on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog, these obstacles will have likely been encountered on a regular basis. Identifying the problem may be difficult for the inexperienced internet marketer or content creator. The focus of this discussion will be on the occasional issue of fake audiences. While it is always nice to gain one more follower or subscriber to the platform of your choice, there will always be bot accounts, advertisers, and other content creators trying to leech off of your success. The first issue to tackle is the bot account.
Unfortunately, due to the ease in which it takes to create an online account on any given social media platform, bot accounts or fake accounts will almost seem to outnumber real accounts with genuine identities behind them. Bot accounts can artificially inflate follower numbers, views on your videos and streams, or be used to wreak havoc on someone’s online platform through the use of spam. While there is no foolproof way to prevent bot accounts from engaging with your online platform, there are signs to look for to identify a bot account. The bot account can sometimes have very few to no pictures on their page. The bot accounts will also likely post comments that don’t make sense in your comment section. Bot accounts also have a habit of having nothing to do with your account. On occasion, the bot account that engages the content will be based on one of the many hashtags, words, or phrases the content creator has used on their post. This bot account may end up following an account or post a link to its own channel on the comment section. The bot account often “likes” a picture, video, or tweet to direct traffic to itself. Most bot accounts also have a link to an unknown website on its profile page with a few pictures that give no identifying features. This bot account will often have something written down talking about how it can guarantee more traffic to the content creator’s page or increase the size of a content creator’s audience if they simply follow the account. The more bot accounts that are encountered, the easier these accounts will be to identify. Once identified, the content creator has options to take care of that specific bot account such as reporting the account, ignoring it, or blocking the account to prevent further interference. Unfortunately, bot accounts are relentless and for every bot account the content creator deletes or blocks, ten more will replace it to repeat the process. While bot accounts are annoying, there’s nothing more annoying to content creators than other content creators who wish to leech off their success for self-gain. This group will be discussed in more detail next.
It’s truly unfortunate to have to think that with all the bot accounts trying to waste your time with advertisements that there are also other content creators willing to do the exact same thing to a content creator for personal gain. Normally, content creators would try to network with one another through solid relationship building and partnerships. Unfortunately, humans are a self-interested species whose main goal is to maximize their access to wealth and prosperity at the expense of their fellow man. Some of these creators will ask for a follow for follow which is nothing more than “I follow your channel, network, or platform if you follow mine.” This doesn’t work due to not getting to know the content creator or what they represent. Many creators who wish to bribe a content creator with this method will leave once they’ve felt they don’t need your follow anymore, then do the same to another content creator. Some content creators on Instagram, for example, will follow your feed in hopes that you follow them back automatically. This is a red flag that should indicate their lack of interest in you or your content. All they wish for is more traffic in their direction and they’re willing to use you to get it. If you ever unfollow their channel or network, they will not hesitate to do the same. This individual may also feel the need to self-advertise in your comment section, emails or other forms of communication. This person will only look after themselves and use people for their own personal gain. Some will literally advertise themselves on another content creator’s chat room when they’re live. The best way to deal with these people is to either outright block, report, or give them a fair warning before having to block or report if the action is repeated. The one unfortunate reality is that the human advertiser, much like the bot account, has basically become a part of the internet. Now that these aforementioned parties have been discussed in detail, it is imperative to conclude this topic.
In conclusion, while generating a fanbase is always good for business, one must be wary of the fake accounts one will come across. Content creators will always have to deal with false accounts on their way to success. False accounts will try to manipulate a content creator with false promises of quick fame and fortune in order to get one’s attention or for their own personal gain. While there is no guaranteed method for eliminating this aspect of internet marketing from your life, spotting and mitigating the problem ahead of time will make it far easier to ignore or prevent them from disrupting the flow of your platform. Where there is a fake profile, there is a way to stop them.
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