Wednesday, 29th August 2012 by Karan Chadda
“How can we gain more followers on the Twitter handle?” a seemingly simple question being asked by marketing departments around the globe. A simple question with a not so simple answer.
However, at a time when businesses across all industries are spending huge amounts of money and time on social media strategies to help grow followers, there are some individuals who are finding it very easy.
A breed of fake football agents’ accounts has been growing on Twitter which claim to be “in the know”, more commonly known as “ITK”, supposedly giving football fans the insight they crave into up-to-the-minute transfer news on who their club is selling or buying. They have amassed huge amounts of followers in short periods of time. It is simple to see why this is working; they are telling the fans what they want to hear, playing to the fans’ hopes that this season their team will have the shiny new players they crave, despite how improbable it may be.
So what’s the issue?
All the content is totally fabricated, every last bit of it.
Today, @FootballAgent49, a “football agent working with various players throughout England” which has tweeted only 812 times yet had over 43,000 followers at its peak, has finally admitted to being an 18 year old who has been “fooling all of you gullible idiots with my fake stories for the past 2 months”. Total rubbish for two months, but because he was telling exciting, exclusive news he had 43,000 followers. In this time the account has trended in Manchester, Leeds, Ireland, Nigeria and South Africa.
And having seen this brave admittance, another “ITK” decided to follow suit. @EPL_Source only had the 9,000 followers, though. Still, not bad.
Twitter is a brilliant channel for getting up-to-date and breaking information before anywhere else. For enthusiasts, employees, customers and friends it is a great way to access content of interest from people or businesses we otherwise wouldn’t be able to. However, it also opens the door for bored, or sometimes malicious individuals, to influence a large audience that otherwise wouldn’t give them the time of day. Huge amounts of people follow and listen to complete nonsense and believe they are learning something new.
If businesses believe that the number of followers on Twitter is an indication of their success and stature they need only look to these fake accounts, with large follower numbers but of no worth to anyone whatsoever. In some cases company follower numbers may not be reaching the thousands, but it is far more pertinent and important for businesses to be sharing content with true value to a few, as opposed to complete nonsense to many.