Spotting Fake Instagram Influencers

When done properly, influencer marketing can help boost your social following and improve your brand's image. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of before partnering with an influencer in your industry. One of these things is to vet the influencer's account for fake followers. 

Fake followers are rampant on Instagram. They're often used to pad follower counts in hopes of scoring brand deals, helping their status in ICO bounties, or attempting to prove legitimacy. These days, it's easy to come across fake followers as they can be easily purchased from a number of online vendors. 

Partnering with a influencer who has fake followers is bad for your brand too. These fake accounts are bots, so none of them will actually interact with your brand after your influencer posts about you. In short: you're wasting your money and supporting questionable ethics.  

In this article, we'll show you three signs that your influencer has fake followers. Make sure to look for these three signs when picking the next influencer that your brand will work with. 

Tell-Tale Signs of an Instagram Account with Fake Followers

First thing's first: have a look at your influencer's followers list. Look closely at 10-20 of their followers. If more than a few of them have accounts with any of the following, they're probably buying fake followers.

  • They follow thousands of account, but have very little followers themselves. You can even go as far as to look at their follower's followers too. If the few that they have look fishy, there's a great chance it's a fake account.
  • Zero posts on multiple accounts. They follow 1,000 people but having zero posts is a tell-tale sign.
  • Generic name and profile photo. Just use your instincts on this. And if you want to get really technical, do a reverse image search on their profile photo and see what it yields.

Lots of Followers, No Engagement

Anoher red flag is your influencer having lots of followers with little engagement. If your influencer has thousands of followers but only a handful of comments and likes on each image, they probably have fake followers.

Not every one of an influencer's will like each of their posts, but the amount of likes should correlate to their follower count. For example, someone with 100,000 followers should be getting at least 500 likes per photo. 

Random Spikes in Followers

Monitor your influencer's Instagram account daily for a couple of weeks and note the follower count. If he or she is gaining is consistently gaining 20 followers a day and then randomly gains 3,000 followers one day, something might be up. 

You can use Social Report to monitor your influencer's follower count for irregularities on multiple social networks. And for good measure, keep an eye out for their name on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. There are some legitimate cases where someone is written up by a major news publication and gains thousands of followers in a day.

Don't Get Ripped Off By An Influencer

Those are three signs your influencer has fake Instagram followers. Keep an eye out for these warning signs when you pick the next time you pick an influencer to partner with.

Partnering with the right influencer can have a great effect on your business—but it comes with risks beyond just fake followers. Check out our round-up of five things to be cautious of when making an influencer marketing campaign

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