Identity fraud has always existed and has become ever so prominent with the up-rise of the internet. The ability to become anyone or anything (while staying virtually anonymous) has opened a platform for online catfishing; this has produced all types of fake personalities and fictional characters which have manifested themselves on tons of platforms, including social media websites.
Of course it was only time till people started creating fake Influencer accounts. This however does not surprise me, as Influencers get a lot of special benefits on the internet. Their ability to get tons of attention, free products and even money (though campaigns or patrons) is something to be desired, hence the recent overflow of fake Influencers with bought followers and likes.
Yes, you read that correctly, bought followers.
Every industry has its own shady back-alley black market and so does Influencer
marketing. There are special services which focus primarily on boosting
someone’s engagement stats by flooding their profile with bots and other fake
These malwariouse third party apps are the primary reason why Instagram tightened their API and they are a threat to Influencer marketing as a whole.
Although Instagram is working hard on removing these accounts by implementing new algorithms and outsourcing special teams, it is important to know how to spot the fake accounts that they failed to remove (or have not yet gotten to). Partnering with a fake Influencer can have detrimental effects on your company, especially if it’s your first campaign.
1. ‘Like’ Validation
The first and most basic thing you’d want to do is check the Influencer’s likes. This includes how many likes they receive, over what period of time they receive them, and if the likes are evenly distributed across all posts. One tell-tell sign that an Influencer is fake is the equal distribution of likes across their images – since their real fans will usually like one image more than the others.
You should also look at the people liking their posts. Check their latest 3-5 posts and go thought the likers (the people who liked the image). If you see people with strange nicknames like RealOG123 or BeanBot4082, that’s a giveaway sign that a person is using a bot machine. But bots sometimes impede on real Influencers as well, to hide their tracks.
To further evaluate the authenticity of their followers, go through the first 10-20 likers and check their posts. Do they post often? Do they have any posts at all? If not, you can be certain that these are bots which can hold no statistical value in your campaign.
Do keep in mind that following this rule alone is not enough to determine if an Influencer is fake, make sure they check all the ‘fakeness’ marks before coming to your conclusion.
What is one thing that every Influencer has?
Fans are the backbone of every Influencer, those dedicated to following, supporting and looking up to the person they follow. One thing fans do is they leave thoughtful, authentic comments. These comments can range from a simple ‘Go you’ to deep meaningful compositions which include scenarios and events from the past.
This is something fake accounts lack. They can have thousands of likes, yet they usually have a couple of comments – and all of them generic. You can also check out the profile of the person commenting, if they again lack posts or they have a bot name, this Influencer is no good.
3. Video Views
Videos are the downfall of con-artists. Due to the way these fake follower applications function, videos are not supported (at least not at a cheap price). This means that if the fake account chose to add a video, their video would have only a few views, way less than their average post likes.
However, most fake accounts avoid posting videos knowing this fact, so an Influencer with no video posts should always sound off your ‘fakeness’ sensors.
I hope this article helps guide you to finding authentic Influencers to work, create and share with. If you have any questions regarding Influencer Marketing feel free to reach out to us on our e-mail email@example.com or any of our social media accounts.