Tech & The Web

The Cost of Social Media Fame? Why Even Ask?

The price tag for social media fame is likely less than you thought. The more important question should be: Why pay it?

An interesting article on Forbes shows that yes, you, too, can experience social media fame just like those “power users” who have enough followers to leave the rest of us scratching our heads.

It turns out that for the shockingly-low price of about $6,8000, you can have a million Twitter followers, a million YouTube views and 20,000 likes on Facebook, not to mention boosts on Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest and a surge in blog comments. You can even round it out with 100,000 views on Vimeo.

The reason some people — I’m not one of them — are willing to pay for fake followers just to boost their numbers should be common sense: in this day and age, if it appears that a lot of people follow you, you appear to be an authority on something, whether you are or aren’t.

Given a choice, I think I’d rather be a genuine authority that’s less known than a guy who’s faking it in an attempt to look like one.

I certainly hope that’s not just me.

Politicians and performers tend to be at the top of the list when it comes to paying for likes and followers. Somehow, this isn’t particularly surprising to me. I’m sure it isn’t surprising to you, either.

An infographic on social media fame shows that of Lady Gaga’s 39 million followers, 71% are fake, according to the website StatusPeople. Seventy percent of President Obama’s 34 million are fake. Shakira has 79% fake followers among the 22 million on her list, apparently, and 74% of Oprah’s 20 million followers aren’t real.

That brings me to the bigger question: if a website like StatusPeople can analyze so easily the percentage of followers who are real or fake, why would you pay that money, anyway?

Surely, the answer is that the majority of people are going to jump on the bandwagon first and ask questions later. More likely, those questions will never come at all.

That’s too much work.

It’s the same amount of work, relatively speaking, required to fact-check one of those forwarded emails that jam up everyone’s email inboxes day after day before they’re actually forwarded further.

We all know how well that goes. Unless you’re one of the people at the top of the “real” list, like blogger Steve Farnsworth, who scored a 95% non-fake rating on his Twitter profile. Check the article for his explanation of how he does it.

Trusting the masses to just do the right thing, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to work as well.

Maybe it’s time that sites like Twitter stepped in and did something to protect their networks’ integrity. If companies are making a profit on selling fake accounts as followers — and I doubt seriously that Twitter or any of the other networks are getting any direct cut of that money — maybe the networks should begin posting right alongside the follower/friend/fan count, the percentage of fakers that number includes.

That might help boost a bit of integrity when it comes to our social media following.


  1. Even if I could afford to pay for social media followers, I’d rather spend my money on shoes.

  2. MeghanMBiro patricksplace I have so many things to say about this article/infographic. None of them too good.

  3. SandySandmeyer Thanks, Sandy. I agree with you. I’d rather build slowly and have people willing to discuss than build quickly and have no sense of community at all.

  4. TheMissingNiche I appreciate the read! 🙂 
    Giveaways are tricky: you essentially bribe people to follow/like you, but then there’s a better chance that they are real people compared to what you’d get if you paid a fee for followers.

  5. Very timely, we were having a discussion yesterday about active vs. inactive followers, whether or not joining a giveaway to gain a following is the right thing to do. This has been incredibly informative. Thanks, Sandy, for sharing this with me!

  6. As a blogger who is getting more into blogging and gaining followers I find it appalling that people would pay for fake followers.  How much integrity does that show?  I’m willing to work for mine.  Good post, Patrick!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.