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More than 34k Resort Twitter Followers May be Fake, 163k May be Inactive

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Thanks to a tweet from the new Vail Resorts social media guy, Jeff Werkheiser (formerly of Keystone fame), I started playing with a nifty little tool that estimates how many of your Twitter followers are fake or inactive.

The idea is pretty simple: you connect your account and the software takes a sample of our followers and compares their activity against a handful of criteria:

  • Has it been a long time since they last tweeted?
  • Do they follow a large number of people but aren’t followed by anyone?
  • Have they never actually sent a tweet before?

Plus other red flags that may indicate an account wasn’t created by an actual person but a spam bot. As a test, I ran my own account (@slopefillers) because, for some nerdy reason, I have blocked and reported as spam every fake account that has followed me during the last year or so.

The results? Only 1% of my followers were spam. About what I expected. The accuracy may not be perfect, but it doesn’t seem to be too far off either.

The Industry
On a larger scale, I wondered what kind of numbers I would see for resorts. The tool gets the most accurate results for accounts with fewer than 10,000 followers so, starting with Grouse Mountain (9,300 followers), I took the next 50 resort Twitter accounts and analyzed them using the tool.

This was the result (and yes, I realize how big this chart turned out – I blame Google):

The day I ran the analysis, there were a total of 706,073 resort Twitter followers. To break that down in total numbers for the industry as a whole:

  • Fake: 34,174
  • Inactive: 163,244
  • Good: 509,079

It’s easy to imagine that 4-5% of your own, personal followers may be bots, but when you combine it with some overall trends, it’s pretty staggering to think about.

For every 1,000 followers you have, as many as 300 of those could be completely worthless. Sobering, but realistic. We all hear stats about how many of Twitter or Facebook’s massive user base consists of “active” users, but we rarely take a step back and realize that many of those inactive users could very easily be included in the fan and follower counts.

Not the most pleasant thing to realize, but it makes engagement rates look a little better when only 70% of your followers are getting a chance to interact.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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