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Shiny Business Coaches - Part 2

Ever wonder why you never received any return on your investment after you paid an online influencer for business coaching advice?  Perhaps they faked their social media proof. Here are a few ideas on how to determine if the people you are following really have all the followers they claim.

You might first be asking, how do they fake the numbers of their followers?  Basically, they buy them. It’s called faking it until you make it. If you google, purchase social media likes, comments, and followers, you may be surprised how many companies offer this type of service for sale.

One of my strengths when mentoring you and your business, is determining how to differentiate your business from your competition. Since much of my competition is online, just like I advise my clients, I research my online competition too.

One thing I noticed when tracking several online competitor business coaches with tens of thousands of followers, is how their social media posts, actually have comments. Until I researched how to fake an online influencer presence until you make it works, I thought my competition was better at marketing or was just lucky.  But then I learned about “faking social proof.”

This will take time, but it may be worth it. Here are a few tricks to tell if the online influencer you’re following, or your own online competition, may be faking it:

  • Review their posts to measure how many interactions actually occur. If the online influencer has tens of thousands of followers, and very few likes, they may purchase fake followers. Spend some time going back as far as you can to search for trends. If the number of followers increases, but the number of likes remains small, it could be due to “faked or purchased” followers.
  • The difficult part in reviewing this content, may be when the online influencer also purchases fake interactive engagements… such as additional likes and comments. Then you will have to research the comments to determine if they appear “canned” or from real people.
  • Another method is to verify the quality of the audience of followers. Are they BOTs, (a software program on the internet that repeats repetitive tasks) Ghost Accounts, (users on social media who remain inactive) or Fake Profiles (someone who uses false information to create an online account)?

With today’s technology it is easy to create fakes of just about anything. There are many articles on forged art displayed in famous museums. If it’s easy to fake a famous piece of art, it’s extremely easy to create a fake online influencer presence. Here are some tips on how to tell if a follower could be a fake:

  • A BOT account may be displayed as a name with a string of numbers. The photo on the account may be canned or taken from one of many online image sources.
  • A Ghost Account, typically has no posts and uneven metrics of a high rate of people it’s following to their number of followers.
  • A Fake Profile usually has no pic and large gaps in the history of the account.

Another way to determine if the person you want to hire as your business advisor is worthy of your money is to ask them, “where have you done it before?” How long have you been in business and will you provide individual references? Actually speak to their references and review their LinkedIn profile searching for gap in their history.

One of my current clients is a former investigator. He went through my profile line, by line asking very specific details of my background. When I passed his review, he immediately signed up with me.

When researching someone I perceived as a competitor of mine, I learned he worked as a car salesman and left to start a new business mentoring business owners. I realized, he was not a competitor, just a successful online influencer.

As of writing this article, I have 8,359 LinkedIn followers. This number increases everyday and I am proud to say I did not purchase any of them.

Written by

Darlene M. Ziebell



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