Follower count is a leading indicator when marketers evaluate content influencers. It makes sense: the more people that follow, the larger the audience, the larger the audience, the more people marketers can approach with their message. As marketers though, we need to be able to spot fake followers on an account.
Influencer marketing has only grown in popularity (because it works), but it has also led to an increase in bots and follower farms churning out fake followers.
As a marketer, it’s crucial to confirm that an influencer’s followers are real for the simple reason that bots and other fake followers cost money and don’t convert. So, let’s look at how to tell whether an influencer’s followers are real people as well as some fake follower warning signs to watch out for.
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Looking to go at it alone? No problem. Here are some things to look for to confirm an influencer’s following is real.
Look at engagement
Checking engagement is one of the simplest ways to determine if an influencer’s following is legit. A high engagement rate — likes, comments, and shares — is a strong indicator that the influencer’s followers are real people that actively engage with the creator’s content. Consider a high follower count but consistently low engagement is a warning sign.
Look for warning signs
When assessing the legitimacy of an influencer’s follower count, here are a few things to look out for:
- A sudden increase in followers: a spike in followers not related to a viral moment might indicate those followers were purchased, not earned.
- A large number of private account followers: bots tend to have private accounts, people are more likely to have a public account.
- Inactive followers: real followers are active on the platform. A large proportion of inactive accounts suggests the followers aren’t really following along and may well be bots.
- Followers with no community: fake follower accounts will have few, if any, followers themselves.
Use auditing tools
There are a number of tools marketers can use to check in on a social profile to see how reputable their follower count is. HypeAuditor, Influencer.co, and IG Auditor are a few examples.
Tapping into influence can help businesses and brands reach new audiences. Legitimate content creators work hard to earn their follower’s trust and attention. They deserve respect and fair compensation. On the flip side, as influencer marketing grows, so too does the potential reward for scammers.
Make sure that you’re working with influencers with real, engaged followers. Be alert for red flags and don’t fall in love with follower count.
If you’re looking to build smart partnerships with amazing content creators that speak to your target, let’s talk.