In recent years there has been a lot of negative reporting about fraudulent influencers and influencer marketing campaigns. Stories about fake followers and fake engagement still follow each other rapidly in the media. It makes sense, because a considerable business has now been involved. A new study has calculated that fake influencing costs the global market nearly 1.2 billion annually.
What are fake influencers?
To filter fake influencers it is first of all useful to have a clear picture of who they are. This helps you recognize the characteristics that distinguish them from real influencers. Like real influencers, fake influencers regularly post high-quality images. However, the big difference is that their supporters mainly consist of fake accounts and bots that often do not respond or do not respond to the content posted. In other words, the posts posted have no real influence.
In many cases there is not just one individual, but rather a whole group of people behind an account of a single fake influencer. Often these groups use stock photos of existing people or rent models that pose as someone else. These groups also regularly buy fake followers and fake engagement to make it appear that the person made is influential. And therefore an influencer.
Conduct a Google search
The first step to detect fake influencers: conduct a Google search. Look up the name or alias of the influencer whose existence you doubt. Influencers are real if you find multiple proofs of their actual existence as an influencer / person in the search results.
When an influencer is only large on one particular Social Media platform, it is useful to look deeper into the type of followers and the quality of the engagement. In addition to the messages on one platform, can you also find blogs, activities on other social media channels or other references? Then you are more likely to be dealing with a real person. Profile photos can also tell you a lot about the authenticity of an influencer. Use Google Images to check if posted photos have been used before.
If after the first step an influencer seems real but you still have some doubts, you can look at any suspicious fluctuations in the growth of followers. The number of followers is still an important KPI in the world of influence marketing. However, the number of followers is of course a pointless KPI if part if the followers are nott “real”.
During online campaigns, fake followers and fake engagement can be purchased. You can check suspicious fluctuations in the growth in the number of followers with online tools. Although there are not many tools to control engagement on other social media platforms next to Instagram, a fake influencer on Instagram is most likely also fake on other channels.