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A Beginners Guide to Faking Social Proof

By Edited Jun 6, 2015 3 10

How to Get Lots of Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, Feed Subscribers, Comments and More

There is lots of hype about the importance of traction in social media and social networking but social proof is not a new concept.

In 1942 a young Frank Sinatra launched his solo career at New York's Paramount Theatre where W

Frank Sinatra and social proof
WII weary bobby soxer girls screamed and swooned. The Justin Bieber of the 40's, Sinatra's team formed fan clubs and the girls ate it up.  Social proof lead to more social proof and "Swoonatra's" career took off like a rocket. 

However, many years later Sinatra's press agent that part of the Paramount hysteria was staged.

"We hired girls to scream when he sexily rolled a note," the agent said. "But the girls we hired to scream swooned, and hundreds more we didn't hire swooned with them."

There is no denying that Frank Sinatra had talent, but lots of people have talent and yet are not successful. Creating the perception of success lead directly to real success.

Today a young Sinatra might still hire fans for $10 a night to scream and swoon, but he also might try to fake his twitter feed, stack his Facebook fan page and amp up his blog's RSS Feed to create the illusion of overnight success.  

Exactly how can you fake social proof?  

Inflated Twitter Followers

Media reports on how many Twitter followers celebrities and politicians have and the more followers the bigger the star power supposedly. Justin Bieber claimed 13,379,031 Twitter Followers as of October 13, 2011 but is up to 17,305,000 by mid Feb 2012.  Barak Obama claims 12,446,000 followers in Feb 2012 while Mitt Romney only has 332,641 on last check. 

There is no need to hire young bobby soxers - on Twitter you don't even need human followers to look impressive.  All you need is fake Twitter followers and these are easy to acquire.

  • Look for follow me and I'll follow you back lists.  You can get to 10,000 "followers" very quickly this way but don't expect them to actually read anything you say.  Downside is you will also be publicly following and not reading 10,000 feeds yourself. Bit of a false ego boast, but it gets that number up.
  • Automate the process with Twitter software. You can set the software to follow people and hope they follow you back. If they don't, the software moves on and follows other people instead, pruning those who ignore you.
  • Go to Fiverr.com and buy a gig. There are many choices, some more honest then others. One Russian guy promises to get you "3500 real looking TWITTER followers in less then 24 hours" for $5. And before you think there is no market, this one guy has 866 completed transactions and 7 orders in the que! 

Fake Facebook Fans and Likes

A popular Facebook page encourages others who visit to Like the page because we like to follow the crowd and get on the bandwagon. Facebook encourages this tendency by showing how many of your friends already like the page.  If you have a business Facebook Page and a few hundred friends you can easily get a hundred Facebook fans by asking your friends to like your page.  Then what?

  • Run a contest giving away something of value to people who Like the page. You'll want a splash page that disappears when the Like button is pressed.  To draw in people, promote the contest on internet contest sites.  You'll get a lot more traffic for a big prize and by sending the contest sites  a few bucks to feature your promotion.  This will get you human fans, but who are not necessarily interested in your company.
  • Go back to Fiverr where you can pay to have hundreds of fake computer generated profiles Like your page.

How to Fake an RSS Feed Count

A big RSS following looks sexy, and seeing only 15 followers on an RSS reader does not inspire confidence.

You can get real human followers by offering something of value like a free report for subscribing. A pop up for new visitors (careful, can be against Adsense TOS) is effective in collecting followers. 

There is a simple way to fake it till you make it though that a few bloggers have tried.  Just copy the code to display the RSS feed count from some other successful blog. Insert the code on your blog and poof - the appearence of tons of subscribers. Of course anyone looking at the source code of your site can spot this trick but likely no one will be looking that closely. 

A way to actually inflate your RSS Feed count a little, do some SEO good, and hopefully draw in some readers is to add your RSS feed with titles displayed to other blogs and site you control.  You can also submit your feed to RSS feed aggregators for a little SEO benefit.  

Fake Comments on Your Blog or Forum

Creating the perception of an active blog commenting section is easy if you just approve the spam but not very convincing to human readers. If you can't get real people to leave insightful comments on their own by writing engaging content, creating controversy or offering commentluv enabled comments, you can always hire fans.

The fastest cheapest way to get comments from humans is to go to oDesk and hire professional blog commenters/forum posters from inexpensive countries. These teams will hold conversations and say nice things about you and your site all day long (as long as the clock is turned on anyway) for about a buck an hour. 

Fake Testimonials

It is a fairly common occurrence for companies to post up fake testimonials for new products. TV ads that appear and feel like testimonials are often just actors, and print or online testimonials are really not much different.  Getting them is as simple as writing them yourself and attaching fake names and cities.

Should You Get Fake Social Proof?

All the fake social proof in the world is not going to turn your work into a real success unless you can actually attract real customers and believing you are actually successful after faking social proof is a potential trap.

The whole idea of faking social proof rightly raises ethical issues. If you consider it advertising, then much advertising consists of statements like "highly anticipated sale," "limited availability" and more that are easily verifiable as exaggerated or untrue.  On the other side, do you really want to be a fake?  

Even if you never fake social proof, at least you now understand how many apparently highly popular enterprises and celebrities may have manufactured that social proof out of thin air.



Feb 13, 2012 1:41am
Wouldn't all this eventually backfire?
Feb 13, 2012 2:02am
Absolutely some of it might. Gingrich took a lot of heat for what were alleged to be fake twitter followers. I'm not advocating one way or another, just educating.
Feb 13, 2012 2:13am
Yeah, I know you're just putting the information out there. I didn't mean to imply otherwise. This just seems like trouble waiting to happen. Kind of like our dead relatives (here in Chicago) voting "back in the day".
Feb 13, 2012 2:24am
I'm from Chicago, too, and that sort of thing didn't only happen there -- it was country-wide.

The "faking" thing reminds of that dips**t Ashton Kucher when he "challenged" Larry King to a tweet-off a coupla years ago (I'm guessing that's some kind of e-wank something). Anyway, Kucher "won" -- what did he win? Also, I'd be curious to know if he used any of the faking tools noted herein.

I hate twitter. Though I have an account there I've never sent a tweet, responded, liked, followed, wiped, or reached-around for anybody on it. Won't happen.

Good article, though, on how posers are made!! A thumb.
Feb 13, 2012 3:05am
Really, Vic, that's awesome. What side?

I never could get into the whole Twitter thing either. I go through short bursts of posting a few article links on Facebook but that's about it.
Feb 13, 2012 3:22am
We're trashing JD's comments area, but I'm from north of The Loop -- born and grew up on Marshfield Ave. (parallel ot Ashland Ave, in the Wrightwood Park area).
Feb 13, 2012 3:28am
Naw, now I'll pull traffic for "Obama ballot box stuffing in Chicago an dead voters".
Feb 13, 2012 3:39am
You really are a "glass is half-full guy" aren't you? Good for you!! (Actually, the ballot-box stuffing thing would make a good article -- it's what got Edgar Allan Poe killed!)
Feb 13, 2012 5:48am
Great way to look at it JD! There's a spin-off article for you!

Marquette Park was where I grew up 71st/Kedzie. Now I live where pilots in and out of Midway can see the color of my eyes.
Feb 14, 2012 2:00am
It's actually not a bad article idea. Google suggest came up with part of that phrase when I looked into it. I'm working on an article on election fraud - will see how it comes out if I can pull together enough material.
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