Scrolling through CNN this morning before heading out to play football I saw a headline that grabbed my attention.

“Justin Bieber just lost 3.5 million Instagram followers”

Now just to be clear, I am not a Belieber and generally try to avoid anything talking about Justin Bieber but this one caught my eye: Link to Article.  (h/t @AaronSmithCNN)

The summary of the article is this: Instagram in something people are calling the “Instagram Rapture” (I think would be better named: Instagram Purge), Instagram has purged fake profiles and the Biebs has lost 3.5 million followers. Crazy. But it almost makes me feel better about my small amount of followers.

As far back as the days when MySpace was popular I remember having to deal with robotic accounts. You would recieve friend requests from random people with clearly photoshopped pictures and the temptation was to accept the request. Why? Because having that one more like, even if it was fake, might make your numbers look better. Businesses can do the same thing: it is tempting to get one more email or facebook like for the sake of having the number. The quality of emails and facebook likes is important. If you are building a tribe of dedicated fans you ought not dilute them with fakes or people who you have tricked or forced into liking your page. If dilutes your numbers and does not allow you to measure your marketing strength or market reach effectively.

But with facebook you have to do more than worry about people who dont really like your service but with robots check out this amazing video about facebook click farms over seas (h/t to @veritasium)

So how to prevent this? I start with really specific targeting of your Facebook ads and a realization that numbers are not everything.

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