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3 Ways to Spot “Influencers” With Fake Followers

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Influencer marketing is big business. With enhancements in mobile technology, humans are more connected than they’ve ever been before. And with more people turning to short social media content on their mobiles (often over TV!) the opportunity to reach them through influencer marketing is significant.

Spotting accounts with fake followers is important if you’re hand picking your own influencers to work with. And fake followers is a big problem for businesses looking to secure partnerships with influencers who actually do influence. There are over 2 million searches per year in Google for “buy instagram followers” according to statistics from Artios. And there are hundreds of thousands for people looking for fake Tiktok followers too.

So if you’re about to invest in building relationships and working with influencers, how do you spot the accounts buying fake followers? here are 3 tips.

Free Tools

There are a number of free tools out there to help you check for fake followers. Fakecheck.co, Upfluence Chrome Plugin and SocialBlade are amongst them but a quick Google search for it will reveal other options.

The premise of these tools is simple. Pop the username in and the tool will run analysis to tell you what proportion of the followers are likely to be fake or bots.

Now most accounts probably have a few fake followers or bots amongst their accounts. A handful isn’t a problem. Some bots exist to just follow accounts. The ones you want to be looking for are the ones where huge swathes of their followers are fake.

Super Low Engagement Rates

If an account has hundreds of thousands of followers but their posts are only getting a handful of likes (or even no engagement at all) that’s a potential red flag for fake followers. And to be honest, even if those followers themselves are not fake, they’re clearly not engaged and therefore that account isn’t really “influencing” anyone.

So the value of reaching these followers is probably not particularly high for you as a brand.

Spammy or Irrelevant Comments

As well as simply buying the fake followers, some people buy fake engagement to try and make it look less like they actually have the said fake followers. With that in mind, make sure you do take a look at the engagement beyond just the number of likes.

Take a little look at the comments themselves. Nonsense comments, or spammy looking comments persistently should be a bit of a red flag. And comments that are a simple “great video” or “great post” making up the majority could also be something of a red flag.

Picking Influencers

Picking your influencers by hand has a lot of perks. It means you can spend the time understanding their following, understanding their content and choosing people who align well with you. If you’re a hiking gear brand you’ll probably pick influencers who already hike a lot and already share their adventure content with an engaged following, for example.

But a few things to look for when you do pick influencers to collaborate with:

· How much of their content is paid collaborations? Too much can be a bit off putting. In our view, it’s important to work with accounts where the majority of their content is not promotional and the core focus is on delivering content their audience enjoys

· They’re super relevant to your niche. No point getting cooking channels to talk about mountaineering gear. If you want to reach their followers, reach them with the kind of content they’re following for

· Think channel. Instagram and Tiktok are big channels for influencers, but where are your core audiences? Before looking for influencers, identify channels your audience is hanging out on and then find influencers on those channels

· Ask for case studies. If you’re going to work with an influencer it’s worth asking about their previous brand collaborations and what the results looked like. It helps to give you a picture of what you might expect

Set your objectives and measure against them and continually tweak and improve.

Good luck in your influencer marketing efforts.

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