Influencer marketing is a booming domain on social media. It can be an extremely profitable marketing strategy for brands. One of the key challenge marketers face when planning a campaign is finding the right influencers to collaborate with. This is the make or break point for any campaign. It has become increasingly difficult to choose authentic influencers due to the rise of fake followers and fake engagement on users’ accounts.
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The Challenge with Fake Followers
When planning an influencer marketing campaign, the primary focus of marketers is the number of followers an Instagram influencer has. It is the emphasis on this metric that prompts people to buy fake followers to appear more influential than they really are. Moreover, there are many companies that offer to create fake engagement on profiles for an affordable price.
The challenge with buying fake followers is that these followers don’t actually provide meaningful engagement on your posts. The truth is, fake followers only make you seem popular but you won’t become an influencer unless you can actually influence people.
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Who’s a Fake Follower?
In order to tackle the issue of a fake follower, it is important to know what a fake account looks like. Often these fake followers are actual people looking to make a quick buck. Other times these are bots who have created accounts on various social media channels.
An influencer may have followers who have created an account but are not actively using the social media channel to the point that they don’t log in for months. These are genuine people who shouldn’t be counted in the audience of an influencer because they probably won’t ever engage with the content.
Genuine influencers follow a similar pattern in regards to the number of followers they have, the number of accounts they follow and their engagement levels. Irregularity in these parameters doesn’t necessarily mean the account is a bot but definitely an account with little value. These can be parameters to identify fake accounts:
- Fake accounts follow a lot of accounts but don’t have many followers.
- They don’t publish a lot of posts or publish terrible content.
- Genuine influencers have a vast difference between the number of followers and the accounts they are following back.
- Some accounts follow a lot of people on a day and create some content also.
- They will quiet down for a long time and rely on the follow backs they get.
- Genuine influencers exhibit steady growth in the number of followers they earn by publishing engaging content regularly.
- Some of the fake accounts post irrelevant comments on people’s posts that appear to be genuine.
- These would be generic comments like “good work” or “good photo” or sometimes just a thumbs up.
- Technically, these comments count as engagement but add little value to a brand looking for an influencer.
The Real Solution to Fake Followers
Dealing with fake followers is a daunting task. Marketers should look into how the influencer’s audience is engaging with their content. There is a vast difference between two influencers having a million followers each if one is having a loyal and engaged audience and the other has an audience that doesn’t care about the content.
Social media platforms could take steps to reveal how strong the relationship between an influencer and their audience really is. Social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram regularly conduct full sweeps to purge fake accounts. This often results in reduced follower counts for influencers giving a clearer picture for marketers.
Marketers need to understand how many people they will actually reach when they collaborate with an influencer. The first thing both brands and influencers need to ensure is complete transparency and information sharing. Marketers can install tracking solutions to measure the authentic engagement and refuse to work with influencers who tamper with their statistics in the first place.If you are an influencer looking for brand collaborations, sign up here!