Followers For Sale!
Hello and welcome to this weeks episode which will focus on the darker, somewhat sinister side of LinkedIn strategies…buying Followers, Endorsements, connections and even employees! What is the world coming to?
Anyway more of that later…..
Mike Winnet has released his first Contrepreneur episode…and it’s brilliant!
I had an interesting message from a listener recently about the potential for a reduction in organic reach on LinkedIn, covered in a recent episode. He had posted about this issue and managed to get some comments from a LinkedIn employee;
Click on the above post and take a look at the comment from Sammy Elazab…quote;
“After speaking to our product team i can confirm that LinkedIn does not intentionally limit its organic reach. If you build a follower base, and they are online and have opportunity to be exposed, they will see it. There are no ceilings in place, unlike some other social platforms”
Whilst I don’t necessarily subscribe to the view that organic reach won’t last forever, Sammy goes further in suggesting that a post is always distributed to all your followers who are online! What a load of BS!
I’m following over 10,000 people many of which produce regular posts and I’m pretty much always on LinkedIn….so he is suggesting that every post, comment, share and like will appear in my feed?….get real!!
Sammy is to be fair, in the sales function at a small regional office. It’s highly unlikely that he would know the right people in LinkedIn to know the true answer to this question….it’s even less likely that LinkedIn would ever openly officially discuss it either!
On a further point, Clinton also asked me this;
What substance is there to the notion that there is a [recency/ `hot streak`] boost – or whether the odd perception of this is just the natural result of increased visibility/points of connection?
This does happen but I think it’s unlikely that the algorithm boosts a post because your last few were successful as such but in effect it does because it will share your post with people it believes are likely to respond, so if many people have engaged with your recent posts, they are highly likely to see your next one. If the content isn’t great then it probably won’t do well anyway but if it matches the standard of previous posts, the hot streak will continue.
Followers For Sale!
This piece was inspired by an article I read recently and what the author revealed is fairly shocking!
I knew you could find people on sites like Fiverr who will undertake any task on LinkedIn at a cost but I had not come across organisations that did it at the scale highlighted.
There are several websites that offer to sell you more than just followers, here is a list of LinkedIn ‘services’ one of them offers;
So who are these followers you can buy? The fact is they are simply fake accounts, set up by click farm type operations. LinkedIn has verification procedures to try to stop fake accounts so it is inevitable that your purchased followers will start to decrease over time, that is why some of these companies offer ‘replacement followers’. Some providers claim these followers are authentic;
100% authentic and verified followers from active accounts worldwide. Nothing fake, nothing fraudulent – 100% real LinkedIn followers, undetectable from the real thing.
So what exactly does ‘undetectable from the real thing’ mean?!!
This particular website also had some named testimonials of people who claimed to be very happy with their purchased followers so I searched for them on LinkedIn and could either not find anyone of that name or anyone with more than 500 followers (despite having bought 1000) so it was pretty clear they were either fake names or people who had subsequently had their profiles closed down.
Because of this, I decided to go ahead and buy 500 followers for £18. They haven’t been received yet but I will let you know what they look like and I will try to engage with them…..that should be interesting!
So what exactly is the point?
A bought follower is simply a number, they don’t engage with your content and if anything, they stop the people you really want to reach seeing your content…what a con!
But surely buying comments would be worth it?
So for $25 you could buy 25 comments on a post. Of course, if you just bought any old comment, it would most likely be something like “great post’ which isn’t really going to help you. Alternatively, though they even give you the chance to custom write your own comments (see above)!!
What is the world coming to? Comments are only of value if they are from real people with their own followers…that is the whole point of organic reach!
Again I checked all the testimonials for the comments product and couldn’t find a real person amongst them….it’s all just a complete scam!
Is this commonplace
Not in my opinion although it is a concerning development! I have seen no evidence that this is in any way an ‘upsurge’. In the article, it suggests there are many people using these services and even explains how to spot them including content that is basic or of poor quality. Well, I have definitely seen examples of that so I took a closer look at their comments and saw no evidence to suggest they had bought engagement. Some evidence of pods maybe but not comments from profiles that looked fake.
The reality is that what I might call drivel might actually be interesting to someone else. A good example is Sally A Illingworth the #brainsoverbreasts girl. I follow her because she gets fantastic engagement on her video posts but and no offence to Sally here, I can honestly say I have never found anything interesting or engaging in her posts…but that’s me, perhaps others do find her stuff really good, or maybe she is buying engagement….so I did a test.
I looked at her most recent video post, which within a day had 57 comments – pretty impressive as always. Here’s the breakdown of those comments;
15 were her replies (the right thing to do)
37 were unique (from a different person)
27 were from men and 10 from women – I checked this because one theory might be that she is a young, attractive female who refers to breasts in her profile!
The vast majority were local and it was clear that some of them had actually met her.
I really couldn’t see any indication that she had bought comments. She has 40,000+ followers but this is probably because her posts get great organic reach. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is part of an engagement pod but that is often hard to tell as repeated comments from the same people is often just down to the fact that they really like her content. The truth is that Sally has found a voice that resonates with her audience, I might not love it but clearly many others do…..everyone to their own!
These products are clearly a complete waste of money. At best they are merely a vanity metric that in truth, most people ignore anyway.
I don’t believe they are a danger or a problem to LinkedIn either, unlike automation products.
That said, I will continue to investigate further and report back here when I get to see what these purchased followers look like!
This is a brilliant example of a post. The simple rule here is this: If you see something with a wow factor, video it (or download it) and share it! The chances are that your reaction will be mirrored by many others;
Given that Samuel is based in the UAE, he has obviously downloaded this video from elsewhere and shared it but that doesn’t detract from the fact that you could see something like this and post a homemade video…if it’s interesting, it could fly (excuse the pun). Samuel has 2195 followers as of today, probably much less 2 days ago when it was posted. Incidentally, this video has been posted by others before Sam but they were linking to other sites such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook….all of those posts failed to engage and had very few views.
The original video was actually posted on YouTube by British Airways in 2013 and go 2.7 mill views! That doesn’t mean it’s plagiarization, Samual probably saw this elsewhere on social media recently, thought it was cool and shared it natively on LinkedIn….it’s good content because he shared something interesting.
This week we have a voicemail question from Lynnaire, a previous guest on the show when she shared her experience of engagement pods
Thanks for the question, the new design in profiles brings the Highlights section about the About (previously summary) section so it’s a good question. This section is automatically created by LinkedIn so you can’t directly influence it but you can indirectly. It’s worth noting that this only shows to people who you have something in common with, such as a shared group, followed company etc and if you are connected, shared connections.
So if you ensure that the groups you join, publishers, companies and influencers you follow are aligned with your target market then you have a better chance of the Highlights showing and having some kind of effect. It is, however, difficult to know how much impact they have, a counter-argument would be to do the opposite to do the exact opposite so that Highlights only show to first tier connections and everyone else just goes straight to your About section!
That’s for this week. If you are in the UK have a fantastic bank holiday weekend and forget about Brexit….at least for a few days!