Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Yesterday, I was heart-broken and angered when I discovered that a couple of wedding professionals we routinely work with had purchased their Instagram followers to make themselves look like they are coveted professionals and industry influencers. I actually ended up in the ER last night because I cut the tip of my thumb off while angrily chopping some lettuce to make a salad.
Each of them have personally lied to me and the venues they work for more than the better half of the last decade – and unfortunately, as a result, they have successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of some of our areas top venue owners and salespeople.
While I know most of you who are reading this may already know about purchasing Facebook and Instagram followers, there are still many of you who don't. A Google search can confirm - For as little as $35.99, you can get up to 5,000 “real” Instagram followers.
Truth told, back in 2010, when we were first building our business on Facebook, I actually purchased 100 followers for about $50. It was dishonest and I'm ashamed that we resorted to inflating our profile at the time. I don't know if they even still makeup a small portion of our FB followers as most fake followers tend to “fall off” after 6-months to a year.
These businesses, however, have not just purchased 100 followers, they have purchased THOUSANDS – and continue to do so on a regular basis. What's worse is that they openly play the part of “Social Media Experts” and “Industry Influencers” so well, that they are preferably treated as the “Top Choice” at some of our venues – when in fact, they are just 'good to average' at best. They've even raised their prices to match their false popularity.
The reason I'm writing this blog is to encourage you all to please research your vendors before booking them. While a personal referral is often “good enough,” many referrers do not know they may be recommending a fraud. Secondly, I want to encourage vendors to "honest-up" and clean up your Social Media garbage.
Here are a couple simple things to look for:
If your wedding vendor has more than a couple thousand followers on Instagram, click their “Followers” and quickly check out 10-20 of them.
- Look for excessive foreign followers - Russian and Ukrainian bots are very common with cheaper Instagram Follower Companies (mentioned above)
- If they are “Zero” posters and following a thousand people, they are likely bots.
- Comment, Comments, Comments - Check out one of your favorite celebrities' Instagram Their real fans comment like crazy! - Comment ratios on Instagram should reflect approx 5% - 10% of their followers. If the business only has 3-4 comments on their posts and thousands of followers, that's a red flag.
- Check their other Social Media accounts – if they have thousands of followers in Instagram, they should have thousands of followers on Facebook.
- Strange, unrelated comments on posts are also red flags for phony followers. - Additionally - "NO Comments" 9 hours after posting content should raise an eyebrow.
Lastly, we actually have a local permanent makeup company up here in Lake Arrowhead that boasts more than 65,000 Instagram followers, after opening barely a year ago! - (laughing very hard on the inside) -Their fake followers are super easy to recognize – If you want to check them out, just search for them on Instagram.
There are tons of articles online on this topic if you are interested.