Twitter Numbers Do Not Guarantee Influence By Our Celebrities

The perception is that the more people you have on your social media platforms, especially Twitter, the more influential power you have. Well, like everything else in this country, that perception is nothing but a farce perpetuated by this insatiable need our industry has to try an emulate the success of Hollywood without the means. 

Turns out a lot of people who follow celebrities on Twitter are nothing but just ghosts. Personally I have never been a huge fan of Twitter. I just found it a little too far off rails when it comes to the connection you have with people, even if it just on cyber space. 

While doing my research I came across an article written by William Seyama, who specializes in digital strategy development, content marketing and analytics. 

In his post, he tested the extent to which Twitter followers of 25 influential Twitterers are fakes. He employed the fake follower tool called Fake Follower Checker (Fakers) to compile his analysis. 

He put the 25 Twitterers included in his analysis into 5 different groups. My interest was the list of South Africa’s top 5 celebs extracted from Twitter Counter. 

According to the analysis, one in every 3 followers in South Africa’s top 5 celebs is a fake. In addition, Bonang Matheba has the least number of active human followers while Tevor Noah has the most followers but come a close second with least number of active human followers. 

As you can see in the graph on the pic above, only 30% of all our most followed celebs in SA's followers are actually engaging with them. It appears that follower quality deteriorates as number of followers grows.

Which makes sense? The more followers you have the more detached some of your loyal fans will feel about interacting with you. As a fan you would think; a celebrity with 1000 followers is more likely to respond your message than a celebrity that has 100000 followers

But what does this mean for our celebrity's brand value? 

Unfortunately our celebrities in Mzansi have to tread a very slippery slope to remain at the top. We all know that for years fame has not equated fortune in this country. While the tide seems to have turned, with the likes of Bonang and Trevor ranking in some cash with their brand name, the truth is that big companies in SA do not want to touch our stars because they simply have no lucrative influence on the buying power of their public. 

Companies look for profits not fame to endorse someone. If you are just famous but your fame has no influence in your fans' pockets then it would not make sense for any brand to want to pay you to push their products. 

On the other hand you can blame these very celebs for this problem. They continuously sell a lie. When they get endorsement deals they will never reveal that, in most cases all you are is a face of that brand. A celeb will likely never get paid for endorsements but given products of that brand for free. Celebs have sold out for freebies. 

Managers and publicists should demand from the start that our celebs should be well remunerated for their ambassadorship for these products. However, the only way that can happen is when we can truly reflect our public's interest. 

I have preached about the fact that our local media, in their pursuit of Hollywood standards, always misrepresent the public interest in our local stars. I have pointed out that in any other country Zone 14 actors would be superstars. 

The show attracts 5 - 6 millions of viewers every week in South Africa and holds the honor of being the only show in this country that can claim to be Generations' competitor. Why are the show's stars not big? Why are presenters on shows that do  not even reach 500k touted as the A-Listers?

What does this mean for our celebs' ability to attract big endorsements?

One can only hope that journalist could stop sucking up and give people who have the support of the public a chance to shine. Those are true stars, and have true fans who will likely support anything the star does. 

A company might fall for the lies that the media sells the public and sign someone to be a brand ambassador for its product only to find out later that this person does not have any influence what-so-ever on the consumers. That kind of thing taints confidence from business in our celebrities' star value.

The fact that someone could be considered a big star in the country and not have the numbers to support that fame hurts all of us in the business.


Too much emphasis is put on Twitter followers to establish a celeb's star power these days. If in reality the truth is simply that only a fraction of these big number of followers on Twitter actually exist or even care about what a celeb posts, can we really call the celebs influential?

1 comment:

omphile said...

What a good post!i dont find Bonang's tweets interesting,she is just sucking up to a followers,and she sames fake,meanwhile i enjoy trevor noah's wit,he is super funny,as well as funny!i follow u on twitter and u not that bad!otherwise i dont think south african celebs have influence at all!

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