Fake Social Proof - Buying Followers & More.

Social Media Marketing

I have been meaning to publish this post in a long time but got busy doing all sorts of other things and writing about other topics. Most of the time when I go to a business to help them on social media the first question I get is:

"How can we get heaps of followers and likers?"  

"I don't know.. just focus on being awesome and giving out amazing content.."

"What about buying followers?"

Ok so my perspective is simple - having a lot of likers, fans and followers does increase social proof. Nowadays a lot of people want to know that they are part of something that is remarkable. This is the result of an overly competitive environment. However it all boils down to the type of business person you want to be. I want to be the honest person with integrity. I don't want a fake business.

                                                        Fake Social Proof - Buying Followers & More.

The other day I stumbled upon a post from an agency saying that they knew they had made it when they got to '10,000' followers on Twitter. So I decided to have a brief look through their followers - for an Australian based agency - they had a considerable amount of Indian and Vietnamese followers. It could be that in India and Vietnam they are suddenly very interested in the Australian market - allow me to have my own doubts. Personally, I find this practice disgraceful - the engagement is fake, the credit given to the business is fake and I doubt these people will use their services anytime soon. Of course this is not new - in the 80's people used to buy fake certificates, say that they are global when they are not etc.. We have created a marketplace which is so over-competitive that we are pushing businesses to be fake.

Online robotic reviews and Jane and John Doe recommendations are another very obvious fake social proof methods which businesses use all the time "We were super happy with the service. John and Jane". If you are going to publish testimonials on your site - try at least to find real ones or why not use two really good client relationships and create some case studies. Or even video one or two clients talking about your service.

Online reviews that are fake jump at you like a sore pimple when you surfing the net, they are robotic and often seem scripted. I complain about the service I got - oh what a coincidence I have 4 other customers with super generic names lining up to tell me what a great experience they have had - really? If you complain in a shop - have you ever seen 4 customers rock up and tell you that they have had an amazing experience?

Social Media marketing is about real conversations between your brand and people - posting fake reviews, buying followers or posting generic bland testimonials are all misleading to the consumer. Your business should be transparent, personable and real. When you are online focus on being awesome, giving out content which can really educate your market and keep at it.

Sharon Latour

Queen Bee/CMO at

I hail from Mauritius, an idyllic island off the coast of Africa and moved Down Under as an international student. Being in a corporate job wasn't for me so I took my own path with $450 in the bank. I've always been passionate about SMEs and after seeing so many struggle digitally, I founded Marketing Bee. We are Australia's first cloud-based marketing department, providing digital production, social media strategy, web development and everything in between for our clients here and overseas.

Comments (2)
Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

Fake online reviews really frustrate me as a consumer, and you're right it also puts businesses that are genuinely making a difference on the sidelines which I think is disappointing. In addition to that, businesses with inconsistent quality are equally as confusing due to the ups and downs of good/bad reviews, making me wonder if the reviews are indeed fake or not.

Phil Joel

Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Establishing trust is very important particularly in the Online world where people's first impression will be based on reviews, followers, etc. Once that trust is broken, it will damage its brand and undo all the previous good work. In Sharon's example, I doubt people will use the Ad Agency's services if they knew the whole story. In any business, it is not unusual to have poor reviews but it is how the business address those reviews that will determine how people judge the business.