What’s Instagram without Influencers?
We’re living in a world where users are purchasing a product after seeing their favorite Influencer’s social media post.
As a result brands started shifting their advertising budget from traditional advertising methods to Influencers marketing in order to increase brand awareness and trust. However, we can’t deny the fact that there are many people who claim themselves to be Influencers by buying fake followers and likes which on its turn can be harmful to a business's campaign.
Moreover, these fake influencers can cost you a lot without any result and lead your brand’s reputation down the drain. So how do you determine if an Influencer is fake?
Who are Fake Influencers?
Fake Influencers are social media users who copy acclaimed figures by posting high quality images and pretend to have an impact on people.
However, their audience is comprised of fake accounts and bots. Additionally, these fake influencers use stock images of food, places and people so that their Instagram aesthetic looks cool and feels like they're living the life. Furthermore, they buy followers and engagement to make people believe that they are influential.
How can fake influencers harm your business?
Hiring fake influencers can be extremely damaging to your Marketing budget since you will end up spending a lot of it on engagement that won't reach real people.
Big brands can recover from such losses. However, the true victims here are small businesses falling to fake influencers scams and losing huge amounts of money in the process. In some extreme cases there are even records of businesses being forced to shut down as a result.
This is a double loss considering a brand could’ve spent that budget on generating actual impact. In fact, it takes a huge amount of time and energy to find the right influencer and come up with a strategy to revive from the damage caused by fraudulent influencers.
Moreover, when these personas are exposed, consumers will start doubting your business's credibility.
How to spot fake influencers?
1-Followers vs Engagement rate
Fake influencer’s followers are made up of fake accounts and bots, they will relatively get low engagement rate on each post compared to their massive follower count.
Another indicator to spot a fake influencer is the similar engagement rate across different posts due to buying a certain type of engagement on each post.
To calculate engagement rate vs following size you have to:
- Divide the total number of engagement within the last 30 days by the total number of posts during the same time frame.
- Divide the result by the total number of followers.
- Multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage amount and you’ll have the average engagement rate during those 30 days.
Accounts with 2000 to 5000 followers should average an engagement rate of 6%. Whereas, when follower count increases to let’s say 1 million, the engagement rate will decrease to 1.5%.
Though you need to check if there's a huge difference between the influencer’s engagement rate and the industry’s engagement to determine if that influencer is fake.
To determine the engagement quality you have to check the comments under a particular posts and see if they are relevant comments. For example if you see a “I like your clothes” under a food post this means that the account is a bot, and several irrelevant comments may help you determine the quality of engagement of an influencer.
Also, some influencers are a part of an engagement group where multiple users comment on each other’s posts in order to increase the comments under a post. This is another type of fake engagement since the same users will comment under each post.
3-Sudden spikes in follower count
An important factor that helps you determine if an influencer is fake is the sudden spike in the follower count. A sudden spike usually occurs when a user purchased a huge number of followers, there’s no possible way that a user can get around 10,000 followers in a single day unless a post has gone viral like that of the World Record Egg.
Moreover, as the saying goes, “After every rise there’s a fall”. The sudden spike in followers will gradually decrease since those purchased followers are not real so they will be removed by Instagram.
The quality of the audience of an influencer can tell you a lot about the quality of influence they have on their followers.
An important tool to use is IG Audit tool. Which thoroughly analyzes the follower profiles of a public Instagram account. It can differentiate between bot accounts and real accounts, so it gives you an estimate of how many real followers the influencer has.
If the color of the followers is in grey, it means that this influencer has authentic followers. If the color is orange, it means that this influencer has a portion of real and fake followers. Finally, if the color is red, it means that this influencer is a fake influencer since majority of the followers are either fake accounts or bots.
Fake won't cut it anymore, time to be REAL!