At first glance, social media marketing may appear to be a numbers game. The more followers you can build, the further your campaigns will reach, and the better your results will be. And while there’s certainly truth in that idea, raw numbers aren’t the full picture: the quality of your followers counts for just as much or even more.

Over time, most accounts pick up their fair share of fake and inactive followers, simply as a natural feature of the social media landscape. The situation is only worsened if an account owner is tempted by services promising to boost follower counts for a fee. But no matter how your fake and inactive followers entered the scene, cleaning them up is essential for any brand that wants to market effectively over social media. Here’s why.

1) Increase Trust Scores

If a large proportion of your following is made up of fake or inactive accounts, your average engagement rates are going to take a huge hit. And when your posts seem to generate little traction, social media platforms will start to treat your account with greater algorithmic suspicion. Your content will be less likely to appear high in people’s feeds, making exposure harder to gain.

Cleaning out the fakes from your follower count will increase the trust the platform has in your account, making your marketing life much easier.

2) Better Partnerships

It’s not only the social media platforms that rely on trust. If you’re looking to partner with another brand, either through influence or via mutual cross-marketing, large numbers of fakes in your audience will discourage any company that notices them.

The brands that are savvy enough to spot fakes are likely to be those who make the best use of social media and would therefore make the most lucrative partners. High fake numbers will close off these growth-producing options quickly and effectively.

3) Brand Tarnishing

Not all fake followers sit quietly in the background. Advanced bot networks attempt to simulate lifelike activity to fly under the automatic detection radar, but their interactions are clearly inauthentic to human eyes. If your brand’s timelines are packed with these poor-quality contributors, the negative impact on your customer credibility can be immense.

4) Clearer Measurements for Stronger Campaigns

Accurate measurement of a campaign’s results is vital for effective social media marketing. Having a legion of fake followers makes it much more difficult to measure the true impact of your work. And when you don’t know in detail what’s working well, it’s much harder to reliably repeat your successes.

5) Guilt By Association

There’s no argument that fake news and manipulation have stormed social media in recent years. Most platforms are now taking active measures to reduce the number of click farms, fake accounts, and other undesirables polluting their networks.

If your brand is connected to high numbers of dubious accounts, you could easily be caught in the crossfire, and become collateral damage even if your content is of impeccable quality.

How to Remove Fake Followers

Finding fake accounts by hand can be time-consuming, but thankfully there are apps and tools available to automate the process on nearly every social platform. Try searching for phrases like ‘remove fake followers on Facebook’ or ‘identify bots on X’ to get a feel for what’s out there.

Once you’ve found the right tool for your needs, you’ll be given a list of suspicious accounts to evaluate. For each clear fake, block the account from your feed, and if you want to be thorough, report it to the platform as a bot account. It’ll take a while to fully clean your follower profile, but the long-term effects will be worth it.

All brands want more followers to produce better social media results, but quality is more important than sheer quantity. Taking the time to weed out and block fake followers can be just as effective for your bottom line as growing your roster of genuine, human followers.