Collaborating with influencers is a powerful tactic to market to a wider set of users and establish the authority of your product. Beware; this tactic can cost a fortune if you don’t know how to scrutinize true influencers.
You read it right. Not every Instagram that appears to have a huge following is an influencer. Some of these accounts appear big because of their purchased followers and rewarded engagement. You can safely assume that these accounts are not followed by potential customers for your products. Instead, these followers are either bots or fake accounts.
What You Will Know in This Blog?
This post will tell you all about different types of fake followers, signs of detecting them on potential social media influencer accounts, and easy ways to filter out fake influencers from your next marketing campaign.
Note that assessing the influence of a social media influencer takes a lot of patience and effort if you are doing it manually. But it’s worth it because without this step you will not predict which collaboration will earn you money and which wouldn’t.
For manual assessment, you need to use all these methods in the same order as we have mentioned. Some accounts will look normal and healthy at first but the second or third method will tell you otherwise. The fourth method will incur expense but it’s the best method if you want to save time without compromising the reliability of results.
1. Check Out Their Followers
This is the easiest method to check out the authenticity of an Instagram account. In a healthy account, you will find real followers, not bots or fake accounts. Here are the three types of followers that tell on the fakeness of the influencer they are following:
Bots are automatically generated accounts solely with the intent of boosting the Instagram presence of other accounts. These bots don’t have any content on their profile. Another tell-tale sign of these accounts is fake, borrowed, or AI-generated profile images. Plus, their username is a meaningless collection of letters and numbers.
The second type of fake followers is stolen accounts from genuine people. These accounts may appear genuine with real content, profile image, and username. Detecting these accounts is more difficult. Thankfully, you wouldn’t see many of them in followers’ lists.
You know you can buy 1500 YouTube subscribers and they will be real people watching your videos or subscribing to your channel for free. Just like these subscribers, you can buy fake followers who are genuine Instagram followers but will engage with your posts for a reward. Again, detecting the fakeness of these followers isn’t easy. The only way to detect them as fake is by assessing the engagement they offer.
So, in this first step, you only have to look at the followers of the influencer and see if it has lots of bots. Use the third method given in this post to assess the quality of the last two types of followers.
2. Check Who They Are Following
This method checks the number of accounts your influencer is following. If the influencer is part of a pod that exchanges meaningless engagement and followers, you will see that the influencer is following a huge number of accounts.
While it’s okay for every influencer to follow up to a thousand accounts for inspiration, connection, and relationship purposes, multiple thousand accounts may signal an issue. Things get more suspicious when these accounts don’t lie in the same industry as that of influencers.
3. Analyze the Engagement on Their Posts
The third primary indicator of fictitious influence is the quantity and quality of engagements. As a rule of thumb, the number of followers should directly relate to the number of engagements on posts. But some influencers may buy the followers and not engagements, resulting in a skewed following-to-engagement graph.
The engagement level should remain consistent from post to post. So, if one post from an account is getting thousands of likes and comments, others should be getting at least hundreds of engagements. But if the graph is too volatile, expect something fishy.
The analytics of videos should also make sense. Generally, videos get 1 like for every two or three views. A lower or higher number of likes indicates those influencers who regularly buy IG likes or viewers.
Also, look at the quality of these engagements. You will see a trend of generic comments on accounts with fake followings. Too many emojis and one-sentence praises signal a low level of engagement. If this is the pattern in every post from the influencer, her influence can be questioned.
4. Use Automatic Tools
You can see that assessing the reach of an influencer is not easy to gauge. You will have to check hundreds of accounts and posts to determine if the person is real or not or if he is authentic in his engagement with the influencer’s post or not.
This analysis can consume hundreds of hours of your staff for multiple account checks. You can simplify this process by using automated tools to check the quality of accounts and engagement backing the influencer.
One such tool is FakeCheck. Its biggest advantage is that it’s free and you can get fairly reliable results even for large accounts with thousands of followers. You can only check the number of fake followers against real ones with it.
Social Audit Pro is a trusted auditing tool for social influencers. The pricing is based on the number of social followers accounts you check and the size of these accounts.
trendHERO is another tool that will not only check the authenticity of the followers’ accounts but will also check their engagement stats.
Takeaway: Ways to Check if Someone is Using Purchased Instagram Likes and Followers or Not
Organic growth of Instagram accounts demands time, patience, and lots of creativity. Some people try to buy Instagram followers to take shortcuts and end up buying this success. They buy Instagram likes or followers to boost their accounts so they can appeal to businesses. Because of this fabricated reach, these accounts offer almost no return on investment to these brands.
Businesses can detect these fake influencers by looking at the followers’ quality and engagement levels. This post discusses four methods to separate genuine followers from fake ones.