Spotting fake influencers is one of the most important skills you can learn in internet marketing. Fake influencers can be very harmful to your online business and can easily be destroying your efforts. Having little or no influence over an actual audience, these fake influencer’s deliver no tangible results. They can actually place your entire campaign back several steps simply by depleting your capital and damaging your brand image. With this in mind, understanding how to spot fake influencers will save you time, money, and valuable relationships with your audience.
Audience analysis is key
Social media is filled with discussions about audience authenticity and influencers. This is largely due to the influx of fake influencer accounts on various platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Many marketers have taken issue with these platforms due to the fact that there is no way to validate the source of a given influencer account. While this is a valid criticism, there is a solution to this problem that can ensure your conversations stay relevant and on-topic. Social media analytics will help you to understand exactly where your audience is coming from and what factors lead them to engage with your content.
Search for engagement
The first thing to look for is a high engagement rate; that is, a high percentage of followers who are commenting or posting on the platform. A high engagement rate will indicate a large audience of people who are truly interested in what you have to say. However, if an influencer has few followers but many likes and comments, this can be an indicator that they are manipulating their engagement. Be sure to find influencers with a high engagement rate that also realistically represents the number of followers that the account has.
Analyse likes and comments
Once you’ve determined an engagement level that indicates genuine audience engagement, you can further examine the comments and likes by the potentially fake followers to see if there is any obvious commonality among them. For example, do they all share the same enthusiasm for your brand? Or is it only one or two individuals commenting on the same topic? This is the type of information you can use to determine whether the source of the influencer’s popularity is legitimate or not. You can assess whether the comments are mostly in the language that the influencer speaks, or somewhere else. Additionally, by looking at commenters profiles, you can evaluate whether their account looks genuine. What sort of content do they have?
Content growth rates
A second popular indicator is the growth rate of their posts. Count the number of likes that these influencers have gotten since the last time you saw their updates. The growth rate tells you how many new followers a single post received within a specific time frame. This information can provide valuable insight into the overall popularity of a brand. If a large portion of the growth rate is coming from a single post, this may indicate a growth opportunity, but it could also mean that the single post is a “fake” or a spammy sales pitch that doesn’t hold much weight within the marketplace.
The engagement rate can show how many people are asking questions about the content shared by the influencer. Real social media users typically ask questions and leave valuable insight in the comments, whereas fake accounts or bots can leave spam comments that are irrelevant. If influencers are answering questions about themselves or their business, you know they are happy to interact with their audience. You want to ensure that you are working with an influencer that provides valuable information about your products and answers any queries that their followers may have about it.
Engagement rates are one of the biggest factors to consider when hiring influencers. The problem with this method is that the influencer can easily skew the numbers in either direction. For instance, the posts that the influencer makes may appear like genuine thoughts and advice, but the ratio might be so high that the actual value isn’t being gained. If the audience isn’t really into what the influencer has to say, they’ll likely stop following him or her, which results in a decrease in the brand’s or product’s overall reach. You want to ensure that social media influencers have a steady follower growth rate, which shows that followers are staying engaged with their content, and not quickly unfollowing.
The most obvious form of influencer marketing is a sponsored post. With new advertising disclosure legislations, you will know when a post is sponsored and when it is not. It’s important that influencers have both, staying creative and genuine on their accounts. You want to look for influencers that have actively engaged followers across both sponsored and unsponsored posts.