It used to be, if you’re a major brand, then you were to hire influencers with thousands of followers to help you promote your products and services online. Then along came shady social media marketing platforms selling fake, bot-generated followers that anyone with a few bucks could buy and propel themselves to influencer status in a fortnight or two.
But the party seems to be all over for these fake social media influencers. Tired of being taken advantage of for far too long, brands wised up to this trick and are now cracking down on social media influencers with fake followers.
The call for transparency in the world of influencers has never been this important. After all, how does it benefit a brand if their product is being promoted to hundreds of thousands of non-existent followers?
Social media networks are having a hard time cracking down fake followers, and until they succeed in weeding out these dark knights, here are some sound tips on how to filter out fake influencers for an impactful promotion of your products and services:
In a desperate bid to appear influential, a good number of these self-proclaimed social media authorities have resorted to buying cheap, bot-generated followers.
With just a few bucks, you could buy thousands of followers to fool brands. But since the followers are NOT real themselves, you can’t expect them to either like or comment on the posts you share.
So when you spot an influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers struggling to get at least a hundred people to either comment on or like their status, then that’s a dead giveaway that you’re dealing with a fraud.
A healthy influencer will at least have an engagement rate of 1 to 5 percent of their total number of followers. For instance, if an influencer has 10, 000 genuine followers, then expect about 100 to 500 of them to be really active in liking and commenting on the posts they make.
Micro influencers will even have a bigger engagement rate than this.
Read this bearing in mind that the engagement has to be consistent and very proportionate of the overall number of followers you have. So if the engagement appears exaggerated or is extremely low compared to what is expected, odds are, you’re dealing with a faker.
Influencer Auditing Tools
When it comes to choosing an influencer, it’s important that you pick a relevant influencer that’s indeed having a good reach and power to sway opinions.
Luckily for you there are tools that you could use to calculate the engagement, authenticity, and quality of the influencers you get before you can go ahead and pick one.
While you can still rely on your instincts and manual abilities to tell them apart, these tools are more recommended as they provide a near-accurate analysis of what to expect from the influencers you choose.
A common tool you could use is Buzzweb
With this tool, you can systematically analyze the influential power of any Instagram user. The tool also allows you to determine their authenticity.
Designed to carry out a thorough analysis of your Instagram profile, the tool will look at the demographic of your audience, the engagement rate, the quality of your audience and everything else that matters to give you a granular insight of the account. Even better, there will be an overall rating of the profile, which you could use to determine if an account is authentic enough for your consideration.
Google the Influencer
Google should let you in on what makes the influencer that powerful or influential. What do they have under their belt or what have they achieved that’s making them a force to reckon with in their area of specialization?
If the influencer has ever written a guest blog or been involved with a notable project, the search engine results you get should have all that lined up for you to see and decide if they’re fit for promoting your product.
Their online presence also helps to clear all doubts you had regarding their authenticity. Better, consider scanning their social media content to find out if they’ve ever collaborated with any major brand in the past.
If not, take every word they say with a flat of salt, because much of what they’ll be saying will be smokes and mirrors, calculated into convincing you to shell out your hard-earned cash for a service you won’t be benefiting from.
Also, if they’ve ever promoted a major brand before, then that passes as their track record, a clear indication that the influencer has some real marketing power and isn’t just there to fool you into trusting them for something they’re pretty sure is beyond their capabilities.
Test their Followers for their authenticity
It takes time build a huge number of followers. If you can tell the duration it took for the followers to accumulate to the large number, then you’ll have an easy time finding out if the influencer is to be trusted.
Buying followers takes a day to two to move from whatever number you have to hundreds of thousands.
Social blade is a good tool to use in determining the growth trend of the influencer you’re about to entrust with your marketing needs.
Sharp spikes are a clear indication that the followers they have were bought, and that you should consider looking into the next influencer on your list.
Quality of Engagement
You can manually check their content and how they engage with the followers they have. If the comments they have are repetitive and spammy, then chances are good they’re being generated by some bots somewhere.
Bot-generated comments can be totally out of place. They don’t have to relate to the original post.
Also, consider checking the style of the post made – if they’re all similar, then it is possible the user might have custom-generated them.
This is not always the case — some of these fake messages can still leak through to a genuine account. But the difference is that the ratio of fake to genuine comments will always be lower compared to what a fake account gets.
It’s a Wrap
The influencer you choose to help you with promoting your product can mean the difference between wasted effort and real promotion success.
Whatever you decide on, don’t let fake influencers fool you with some of the tricks they employ. If you can smell a red flag from miles away, balk from the idea of working with them and consider looking into the next available option you have.
For Singapore marketers and business owners, a much simpler alternative would be to outsource the services from a trusted online marketing agency such as MediaOne. Even after reading this, you still find it hard to tell if an influencer is really influential, then consider checking out MediaOne for free influencer or SEO consultation.