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The Twitter following of every USL team

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A website claims to be able to tell us how many of our Twitter followers are fake. So, how many fake followers do USL teams have?

Twitter Goes Public On The New York Stock Exchange Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

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.

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)

Team Conference Real Fake Percent Real
Team Conference Real Fake Percent Real
Reno West 3,210 46 99%
Vancouver 2 West 2,573 58 98%
Real Monarchs West 4,405 76 98%
Colorado Springs West 3,892 96 98%
Orlando B East 4,833 84 98%
Pittsburgh East 10,860 278 98%
Toronto II East 5,347 120 98%
New York II East 3,829 58 98%
San Antonio West 9,311 258 97%
Tulsa West 5,232 166 97%
Swope Park West 6,736 201 97%
Charleston East 17,711 491 97%
Charlotte East 6,141 196 97%
Seattle 2 West 7,830 360 96%
Orange County West 6,322 243 96%
Rio Grande Valley West 3,481 137 96%
Ottawa East 13,504 504 96%
Oklahoma City West 10,657 656 94%
Saint Louis East 13,096 910 94%
Louisville East 12,892 837 94%
Portland 2 West 6,706 512 93%
Bethlehem East 5,416 401 93%
Galaxy II West 8,435 784 92%
Harrisburg East 6,476 602 92%
Rochester East 9,043 754 92%
Richmond East 8,094 656 92%
Tampa Bay East 21,387 2,643 89%
Phoenix West 8,141 1,206 87%
Cincinnati East 24,361 13,408 64%
Sacramento West 30,648 25,691 54%

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.