Forgive me if I’m behind the times on this, but I do my best to bypass political tweets, and so yesterday I learned about a little internet tool called TwitterAudit.com for the first time. Wes Burdine, Managing Editor of the popular Minnesota soccer blog FiftyFive.One, ignited quite a bit of discussion when he listed the “real” follower percentage of every MLS team.
out of curiosity I ran audits on how many of each MLS team's twitter followers were real. pic.twitter.com/ayRYSN8ETp— Wes (@MnNiceFC) March 16, 2017
TwitterAudit.com claims to be able to “audit” the authenticity of a given Twitter account’s following and provide some info that, while not 100% accurate, certainly does provide a basis for comparison, and a hearty bit of social media jabbing (both inside and outside sports, ugh). From the website’s “About” section:
Each audit takes a random sample of 5000 Twitter followers for a user and calculates a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends. We use these scores to determine whether any given user is real or fake.
Friends of ICS, MLS in San Antonio, raised the most pertinent related issue.
Well, we all know what’s next, right?
I pulled the numbers, and have presented them below. A few things on fake Twitter followers, though.
While it is possible to buy fake followers for a number of nefarious reasons, a Twitter user growing its following 100% organically cannot guarantee that it won’t attract numerous bots, scammers, and other undesirables. As someone interested in marketing, I’m often targeted by auto-follow shenanigans, and I’ve come to accept it. For those looking to clean up their percentages, there are some things that can be done.
You’ll of course notice that the lowest percentage of “real” followers on USL Twitter belongs to Sacramento Republic FC. That’s not unexpected by any means, simply because no other team has spent as much money and effort on marketing over the past three years. I have no insider info, but it’s my opinion that not only is Sacramento not angling for fake followers, they are probably trying to eliminate them in order to reduce the image problems that fake followers bring to a legitimate organization.
Cincinnati seems to be exhibit the same experience, in lower proportion. Both clubs, however, seem to have earned the majority of their followers organically, and those numbers outpace everyone else in the league, save Tampa Bay, by a wide margin.
Now, on to the numbers.
USL Club Twitter Following (as of March 16, 2017, according to TwitterAudit.com)
|New York II||East||3,829||58||98%|
|Rio Grande Valley||West||3,481||137||96%|
If I learned anything from this data, it’s that a hard-earned social media presence attracts the good and the bad, and both must be managed. More importantly, any ill-gotten gains would do an organization more harm than good.