Justin Bieber and his army of Tweeps

Today it was announced that Justin Beiber has more followers on Twitter than the total population of Canada. With more than 35 million tweeps following the young pop-star on Twitter, it comes as no suprise that Justin Beiber is at the top of the global Twitter follower list.

The most interesting thing about Beiber’s follower count lies within the statistics about those he follows. While Bieber follows an astonishing 123 497 people on Twitter – many of them with the same surname as the canadian teen idol – it is estimated that the majority of the people he follows are in fact “fake” accounts. Status People’s fake follower count tracks analytics for twitter accounts, and reports that only 36% of those @JustinBieber follows are “good” accounts, with another 35% being “fake” accounts, and the remainder being “inactive” accounts.

Just Bieber has a high ratio of "fake" Twitter followers.
Just Bieber has a high ratio of “fake” Twitter followers.

Keeping these figures in mind, we can learn a few things from Justin Bieber’s inflated Twitter account:

  1. Don’t pay attention to numbers – Yes having lots of followers on Twitter may give you bragging rights, but having lots of followers doesn’t mean anything unless you are having meaningful interactions with real people. Want to get more followers? Create content that is meaningful and impactful.
  2. Avoid follow back scams – any service that offers you to pay for more followers is a scam. While these services may be able to grow your follower count, in the long run, they will hurt your Klout score.
  3. It’s a Risky Game – Buy buying followers you are running the risk of losing any credibility you worked so hard to build. If your demographic finds out that you bought all those fans, you run the risk of facing some serious backlash from your community.
  4. Going Phishing – While fake followers will boost your numbers right off the bat, fake followers can incur phishing, hacking, and even infect real fans or followers with spammy links. In the end, this will have the exact opposite effect you hoped it would.

Whether it’s unethical, risky, or just plain dangerous, experienced social media managers and marketers can unanimously agree that buying Twitter followers is just plain bad practice. While it may seem like a quick fix to buy your Twitter followers, true and meaningful engagement will only come with time. Remember the lessons that you learned in elementary school, be a nice person, share the things you like, and don’t cheat. Follow these simple lessons, and you’ll be tweeting like Bieber in no time.