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Did Donald Trump Buy Twitter Followers? Why?

Fri, Oct. 07, 2016 Posted: 02:13 PM

If you have been following the United States presidential nomination between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, you probably are familiar with how the two manage to use their social media platforms, particularly Twitter, in engaging and in mudslinging.

One of the famous instances when the two engaged in a Twitter debate was when Trump (with the twitter handle @realDonaldTump) tweeted: ‘Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!’ to which Clinton replied, ‘Delete your account’.

If you think it ended there, you are wrong.

Last July, Trump tweeted: “To all of my twitter followers, please contribute whatever you can to the campaign. We must beat Crooked Hillary.” It was retweeted about 9,700 times with close to 24,670 likes.

It seems that Trump has a really huge following on Twitter.

If you log in to and happen to visit United States presumptive nominee of the Republican Party Donald Trump, you will find that the has about 11.7 million followers to date. That figure is huge. But are all those real accounts?

The case of those who follow Donald Trump on Twitter is marked by those with very few tweets or very few followers. In some instances, the follower has just joined Twitter in the past few months. Do you think those are real?

In an article written by Carl Bialik posted on FiveThirtyEight, the author posits that those are probably fake.

While there is no universally accepted definition of what a fake Twitter account is, as a user, you probably know which are fake account by quickly checking their profiles. Some accounts have eggs as profile photos or part of a network of trolls who use their precious time to tweet spam or just attack anyone who thinks Trump is the worst presidential candidate in the history of United States.

Trump needs more Twitter followers

In trying to win nomination for the GOP, Trump needs to increase his social media footprint. Many Americans use Twitter on a daily basis and sends thousands of tweets in a matter of seconds. If anything, Twitter is an alternative source of news for many of those, as news providers and social media influencers use this platform to announce current undertakings.

Trump needs more Twitter followers because he needs the following.

Apart from having the celebrity effect, which he already has, it has to appear that many people actually believe his cause.

Having more followers makes your search rankings better. It also boosts its visibility not only in Twitter but across search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and others.

It also brings increased traffic to get more users to visit his page. It does not mean those users will instantly follow him but it only means that his page becomes more visible to more people than it should have (if he did not have huge following).

As a presidential nominee, you would want to appear to have huge followers. You would want to make more people listen to you. He needs the audience and Twitter can provide it to him.

Apart from that, despite having not everyone follow him, if he has more followers, he still appears on the Twitter feeds of people who does not follow him. Besides retweeting, Twitter has this feature that shows tweets of other people whom you do not necessarily follow but was liked by a person you follow. If many of your friends liked Trumps tweets, it would automatically show on your feed. This feature is very effective in getting more followers.

Why buy fake followers?

Buying fake followers has been a common practice to boost visibility on the Twitterverse. The more people who follow your account, the more influence you have. Furthermore, as more people tweet about you, the more you appear on the Twitter search engine.

As politics became increasingly digital, social media strategists from various camps have to employ tactics that would help win their candidate this election. No matter what it takes. In this case, Trump is probably buying Twitter followers to increase his social media presence particularly on Twitter.

According to Washington Free Beacon analysis, 64% of Trump’s close to 12 million followers have not been in use for at least the past six months. What does it say about his followers then?

It probably puzzles you why would Trump’s social media campaign manager spend so much resources in buying new followers. But here are some reasons why he needs it:

1. Trump appears to have a huge following. By buying new followers, Trump’s online presence is immediately increased. It does not matter if that fake account is part of the statistic. What matters is that you appear to have a huge following. Strategists would tell you that this is particularly important if you are trying to prove the other camp that many people believe in your case. In this case, many people believe in Trump.

2. Bandwagon Syndrome. Forget that it was all an act because the bandwagon syndrome is real. Once another user sees that your Twitter following is rising, they will be more likely to follow you as well. Same goes with Trump. Having more followers is an indicator of a reputable source and that other users are more likely to follow. He is, anyway, a public figure.

3. Easy way out. It reduces the hassle of creating campaigns just to earn more followers. Buying new one is a swift exit strategy. Remember that gaining a real Twitter following takes time and effort and requires you to produce great content. Buying Twitter followers is a short cut and besides, it does not cost as much.

4. It is legal. Buying fake followers is against Twitter’s terms but it is not illegal.

If Trump is really trying to get into most American millennials to vote for him, well, he really has to reach out to them and one good platform is through Twitter.

Smith Willas