In recent years, the biggest problem that social media platforms have been consistently tackling is the spread of fake followers. Be it Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, fake followers have become a major concern for all. However, what’s concerning for social media platforms has become profitable for fake influencers.
Content creators put tremendous amounts of effort and time to increase their follower count and influence. Although some take the quick route to success without considering the consequences.
Social media platforms consistently update their algorithms to tackle fake followers. But with the rapid technological advancements, fake account distributors keep finding new ways to exploit the system. In 2018, Twitter took major steps to find and remove fake accounts and would up suspending nearly 70 million fake followers.
Who are fake influencers?
Before we talk about how to identify fake influencers, you need to first understand what makes them fake. This way you can identify the characteristics that can help you differentiate the fake influencers from the real ones.
Fake influencers are social media users that by all means and appearances seem genuine. Like other influencers, they post genuine content similar to those from their industry or niche. The one thing that distinguishes them from authentic influencers is the massive number of bought accounts that inflate their follower base. In other words, they do not possess any meaningful influence in terms of audience or the industry they operate in.
How do fake influencers affect brands?
Influencer marketing is one of the most invested in paid marketing channels in 2021. But the increasing number of fake followers has become a major concern for brands and marketers. Major brands and marketers can invest a lot of resources into planning and executing an influencer marketing campaign. Although, if the influencer is fake all the resources go to waste which could have been used in a more fruitful endeavor.
Still, the most devastating impact of influencer fraud is on the financials of the organizations. A major brand or organization might recover from such losses over time, but the same cannot be said for small businesses. Then there is the negative impact on your brand’s image if the users identify the fake influencer before you realize it yourself.
How to identify fake influencers?
Now that you know what fake influencers are, let’s discuss the ways to identify them so you can protect yourself from influencer fraud.
Low engagement rate: Check the follower-to-engagement ratio
Analyzing the engagement rate of influencers is one of the easiest ways to find the right influencer to promote your brand. Genuine influencers that have spent a tremendous amount of time and effort cultivating an audience get the desired engagement. But the same cannot be said for fake influencers.
Since fake influencers resort to buying fake followers rather than building a genuine follower base, they do not get the desired engagement. They have to further pay to increase engagement on their posts. To identify fake influencers, check their posts and compare the engagement with the follower count. If the follower count is low, the said influencer has most probably bought fake followers to inflate their follower count.
Analyze Engagement Quality
Engagement quality is another factor that you can leverage to identify fake influencers. As discussed before, users resort to buying fake followers to seem influential. But if those followers do not engage there are likely to be found out. So to keep up with the farce they end up buying fake engagement as well.
The best way to identify such fake influencers is by checking the quality of their engagement. Unlike engagement received from genuine followers, the bought engagement is often generic. Analyze the comments on the post of influencers, if you find very generic comments it’s best to avoid collaborating with them as they bought engagement.
Analyze follower profiles
Another way of identifying fake influencers is by analyzing their follower profiles. Fake accounts usually have poorly created user profiles with unusual usernames with numbers, images of other users, and missing information such as contact details. You can use these factors to analyze the quality of an influencer’s follower base.
Open the list of the influencer’s followers and locate usernames with numbers, these are usually fake followers. You can also use images to identify fake followers. Perform a Google image search using the profile picture of the followers. This will help you check if any other more detailed social media profile exists with the same profile image. Last, check if the followers have filled in the required contact details. Genuine users that frequently use any platform often fill in all the details for their user profile.
Analyze follower growth rate
Now the last way to identify a fake influencer is by analyzing their follower growth rate. If an influencer has bought fake followers, there will be a sudden spike in their follower growth. Look for any sudden spikes, although, you cannot just access the analytics of any user without an analytics tool.
FollowerAudit is an amazing fake follower auditing tool that can help you track, analyze, and audit the Twitter profiles of any public Twitter account. You can analyze the quality and authenticity of your Twitter followers with ease. It can also help you track the follower growth of any public Twitter account and provide real-time updates on gaining or losing each follower.
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Influencer marketing partnerships can cost a hefty amount for a brand, but if the audience of the influencer is fake, you won’t get anything in return. Not to mention the tremendous waste of resources. Also, if your audience realizes that the influencer is fake before you do, it’s going to raise further suspicions about the authenticity of your brand’s follower base. Therefore is crucial that you protect yourself from influencer fraud.
If you think we missed something, let us know in the comments. Adios!