Athletes should avoid buying Twitter followers at all costs

Internet Marketing

Twitter is a crowded place, and for the average joe, rising above the noise presents a difficult challenge.

One option to jumpstart a Twitter following is to pay for followers.

There are a lot of services out there who have stables of fake accounts. For a price, some or all of these fake accounts will follow yours.

Nine times out of 10, buying Twitter followers is a bad idea.

Mainly because doing so breaks the cardinal rule of marketing: Don’t lie to your audience.

By buying followers, you are essentially telling your audience that you are more well-known than you really are.

And, honestly, the upside almost never outweighs the downside.

The upside is social proof.

What you’re hoping to accomplish from buying Twitter followers is the following reaction from a potential audience member.

Whoa! 100,000 people follow this account! It must me good!

For the mom and pop store or medium-sized business or rookie actor, this may be worth the risk.

But for star athletes? No way.

Athletes can garner huge followings much more easily than just about anyone else.

With a simple plan, consistency and some openness, athletes can rake in the followers.

Which is why I was shocked to see the “10 Sports Twitter Accounts With a Shocking Number of Fake Followers” on Mashable.

These are some of the world’s best-known athletes, teams, leagues and organizations.

Take a look at just the top 5 from the list:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Followers: 12.6 million / Good: 21%
  2. Kaka – Followers: 12.4 million / Good: 21%
  3. F.C. Barcelona – Followers: 6.5 million / Good: 20%
  4. Shaquille O’Neal – Followers: 6.1 million / Good: 32%
  5. LeBron James – Followers: 5.9 million / Good: 36%

These are huge brands. There is no reason they can’t reach that number of followers legitimately.

Now that they’re busted, their social brands take hits because they come off as phony.

Here’s more on how Mashable! conducted the investigated.

A new tool called Fakers from the London-based social media management company StatusPeople analyzes a sample of anyone’s Twitter account to identify fake and inactive followers.

We ran some tests on prominent accounts from the sports world to see how many phony followers plague well-known personalities, teams and leagues. Our 12 picks are based on popularity, online notoriety and our own personal curiosity.

Important to note: The StatusPeople app pulls a sample size of just 500 followers, so isn’t an exact science by any means. But it does provide some good insight and interesting food for thought.

What do you think about fake followers? Is it ever a good idea? Do you think less of these athletes now that they’re busted?

About Cody Swann

Cody Swann is an entrepreneur, developer, strategist, banged up ex-football walk-on, retired body builder and former journalist born and raised in South Florida. He currently splits his time between his hometown of Stuart, FL and Los Angeles, CA. Cody founded Gunner Technology, a highly sought after digital agency, specializing in helping companies maximize profits through custom web development, technology efficiencies, social media strategy and search engine marketing. As a manager and developer at ESPN for nearly six years, Cody led development and vision for two of ESPN’s most popular online features: Sports Scoreboards and GameCasts. Additionally Cody oversaw all aspects of MyESPN and ESPN’s social network, ESPN Fan Profiles. Cody worked with Technology, Editorial, Sales, Marketing and relevant business stakeholders to mold ESPN’s social media strategy, develop custom applications for it and execute it. Under his direction, ESPN successfully ported large portions of its core product from a proprietary Java stack to an open source Ruby on Rails stack, capable of standing up and performing under the tremendous load world's most popular sports site delivers. Cody began forging his technological knowledge more than 10 years ago, developing and designing websites in college. His development work has included web development, web design, content writing, digital photography and digital video production for award-winning sites like, and He has helped set digital strategy and direction for companies in the New York Times Regional Newspaper group, ESPN, ABC and Disney. He is a recognized expert in web development, social media strategy, search engine optimization, conversion optimization, analytics tracking and business planning. He has worked with large interactive media companies to small and medium sized businesses. Cody motivates and inspires creative teams to deliver superb, polished work under tight deadlines.

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