Fake followers are a severe problem for influencer marketing. You need real followers to boost your brand credibility and generate sales. However, with the rise of fake accounts on Instagram, it has become increasingly difficult to determine how many followers are real.
This is why you should look for suspicious activity when working with influencers or while analyzing your account growth stats.
The fake following creates some serious problems down the line when you want to collaborate with them as an influencer (and believe me, this happens more often than not).
So how do we avoid such messes? Here are my top tips on how to spot fake followers before signing up for collaborations or accepting invitations:
What Is a Fake Following?
So what is a fake follower?
A fake following is a type of account created by a third party to give an account more credibility. Fake followers are not real people and will never engage with your content.
These accounts make it seem like the number of followers on an influencer’s account is much greater than it actually is.
Though that’s a real person behind it, there are chances they might even forget to delete the account or use it for a long time. Though this situation is complicated, having such followers takes a toll on the influencer’s engagement, eventually affecting your brand.
Scammers and spammers can also create fake followers who want to sell you their products (usually via an affiliate program) at an exorbitant price or steal your identity for money laundering purposes.
Why Should You Check for Fake Followers?
Your follower count is the most crucial thing if you are an influencer. But if you have a high number of fake followers, it can affect your brand’s credibility and also its reach.
There are a few reasons why checking for fake followers is important.
Fake Followers Can Lead to a Bad Reputation for Your Brand
If you’re an influencer with a large number of fake followers, you might be at risk of having your reputation damaged. If you collaborate with brands and other popular influencers, they may become suspicious about your popularity and credibility—which could lead them to wonder what else you’ve been lying about.
This may cause a brand or influencer to refuse future collaborations with you in the future, which will negatively impact your business profits over time if this happens often enough.
Fake Followers Can Hurt Your Credibility
Another reason social media users must check their accounts for fake followers is that fake accounts can hurt their credibility and reputation.
If someone sees that an influencer has many more bot followers, then these individuals may not trust that person’s opinion about anything else, including how well that individual knows about fashion or cooking!
This means that even though these users may still follow these people on Instagram/Twitter because they want to access their lives through what’s posted online, there will always be doubt present when making decisions based solely on opinions shared by people who have too many false connections online.
So how to check for fake followers? Let’s begin with a basic human instinct of spotting something fake.
- Look at the profile photo. If it looks like a stock photo, it will likely be fake.
- Check out their bio and check for grammatical errors. A real person will make mistakes in their bio at some point, but someone just trying to sell followers won’t.
- Check out the accounts that are following them and see if they have many bots.
Identify Fake Followers by Analyzing Account Growth
Look for sudden spikes in follower growth. If your influencer has shown a consistent pattern of follower growth over time, you can be sure that it’s not fake.
Look at the rate of new followers gained. It may be real if the number of followers gained is near zero each day.
Here’s a representation of the follower growth rate:
Likewise, if there are no new followers and all comments appear to be from bots (which tend to post salesy or spammy content), this might indicate something suspicious.
Look Out For Very Low or High Engagement Rates
Look at the engagement rates of the followers, posts, comments, and shares. If a company has a meager rate of any of these things, then it’s likely they’re buying fake followers to inflate their number.
In particular, look at how many likes and comments each post receives per follower; if there are more likes than comments, then that person is probably buying likes and followers because genuine people don’t like everything on every platform (unless your brand is Pepsi Cola).
Scan the Comments to Spot Inconsistencies
Look for spammy or irrelevant comments.
Check the tone of each comment; most people will use different tones depending on what they’re talking about. Is it too formal? Too informal?
Does it sound like an automated response system rather than an actual person talking? That could indicate that something isn’t quite right with your follower count!
Check how long each comment is. If someone posts a long comment related to the post, chances are good that they’re genuine.
However, if the comments aren’t relevant to the post, there might be some trouble brewing in paradise!
Create a Collaborative Cheat Sheet
If you’re a content creator, consider creating a collaborative cheat sheet. Like the name says, this is a list of influencers you want to collaborate with.
But there’s one rule: the only way for them to get on your list is if their account has been verified by Qoruz (or another similar influencer marketing tool).
You can also check their follower count before adding them to your list—this will help identify fake followers immediately!
You can easily spot the engagement in their account with their following. If the engagement is too low for their follower count, there is a high chance that they are fake followers.
Usually, few influencers buy bot followers to inflate their numbers instead of creating content and increasing their followers count naturally.
How Influencer Marketing Platforms Help Spot Fake Followers?
So, what’s a savvy marketer to do? Some sit and manually try to find the bots, which is time-consuming and stressful.
Fortunately, tools are available to help determine whether or not an influencer has fake followers.
One of the most popular influencer marketing platforms is Qoruz, which provides a full suite of tools for monitoring your campaign data.
Counter Checks are necessary as there are certified tools like Qoruz for the identification of fake followers.
You can use a lot of tools to detect fake followers. But how do you identify them? The easiest way is by doing a counter-check. For example:
- If you have 10,000 followers with only one post and are an influencer, it will obviously raise questions.
- If your engagement rate is low on posts and high on comments (half or more), then it clearly indicates that someone has purchased fake likes for your account. This means that many users like the posts but don’t comment on them or engage with them in any way – which doesn’t make sense!
In the end, it really comes down to good common sense. If you’re looking to collaborate with influencers on your brand, you should be sure that they have authentic followers and not just bots.
You also need to be careful when selecting which tools will help you with this task because some offer fake follower reports (another problem in itself).
Try the Qoruz platform to spot fake followers in influencers’ accounts and save yourself from low or zero engagement rates for your influencer campaigns.