Three tips on how to identify fake followers on Instagram.
Look at the followers manually
You can deduce a lot from the course of the follower growth, but it is also smart to take a manual look at the profiles of these followers. Just go through his or her list of followers. Real followers usually have a profile picture, fake followers don’t. Another sign is when an account is following many accounts, but have few to no followers.
Furthermore, usernames that contain a weird number or no actual name are generally also a sign of a fake account.
Here we are again, in addition to the aforementioned steps, there is a possibility to assess an account: the so-called engagement rate. Evaluating the engagement rate is a little more complicated. Roughly speaking, the following applies: if the engagement rate is below one percent? Then that could mean that the account is not real.
Do realize that you cannot use engagement rate as the deciding indicator. Some fake influencers still have a healthy engagement rate, because they use automated bots that generate fake likes and / or comments. In most cases, these bots used to influence the Instagram algorithm are not advanced enough to create truly unique engagement. This makes them easily recognizable as being fake.
In general, the engagement rate decreases in percentage as an influencer grows. A known influencer is followed for other reasons than the smaller nano or micro influencers. A “big” influencer is often further removed from followers, because he or she has been given some sort of celebrity status. This status, and not so much the beloved influencer’s reporting, may already be a reason for others to follow this person. The engagement is therefore lower than when a micro influencer is followed, because it is easy to identify with the photos and messages posted and the influencer receives personal responses.
Use the Instagram tool
Instagram has also recently launched its own tool to check whether an influencer is real. The “about this account” feature is available for all accounts with a large audience. The only thing you have to do is click on the three dots at the top right of the Instagram account and then open this function. The method is not yet available for the smaller influencers but it is a useful tool when checking larger accounts. In the “about this account” overview you can see the user’s country, the date the account became a member and any other usernames that he or she may have used.