How To Check If A Singapore Social Media Influencer Is A Faker

check if singapore influencer is a fake

It used to be that if you were a major brand, then you were to hire genuine influencers with thousands of followers to help you micro-influencers promote your products and services online. Then along came shady social media marketing platforms selling fake accounts. This bot-generated fake influencer has fake 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 over for these two fake-follower 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 and fake followers’ Instagram accounts, too.

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The call for transparency in the world of influencers and brands has never been this important. After all, how does it benefit an influencer’s followers, audience or follower’s engagement rate a brand if their product is promoted to hundreds of thousands of non-existent followers?

Social media networks are having a hard time cracking down fake accounts, fake influencers, and fake followers, and until they succeed in weeding out these dark knights, here are some sound tips on how to filter out and spot counterfeit followers, suspicious accounts, fraudulent fake followers and fake influencers for an impactful promotion of your products and services:

Be Wary of Influencers with a Blown Out Number of Social Media Followers

In a desperate bid to appear influential, many followers of these fake self-proclaimed social media authorities have also resorted to buying cheap, bot-generated fake followers.

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You could buy thousands of fake followers to fool brands for just a few bucks. But since the people buying fake followers are NOT genuine people themselves, you can’t expect them to like or comment on the posts you share from private accounts.

So when you spot an influencer with two fake Instagram followers or accounts and hundreds of thousands of counterfeit Instagram followers struggling to get at least a hundred people to comment on their profile picture or like their status, it’s a dead giveaway that you’re dealing with a fraud.

Engagement Rate

A healthy influencer’s real followers will at least have an average engagement rate and average likes rate of 1 to 5 per cent 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 active in liking and commenting on the influencer’s engagement rate in the posts they make.

Micro-influencers will even have a more significant engagement rate than this.

Read this, bearing in mind that the engagement has to be consistent and proportionate to your overall number of followers. So, if the engagement appears exaggerated or is extremely low compared to what is expected, you’re dealing with a faker.  

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Influencer Auditing Tools

When choosing an influencer, you must pick a relevant influencer with a good reach and power to sway opinions.

Luckily for you, there are very few posts and tools you could use to calculate the other engagement rates, authenticity, engagement rates, and quality of great posts from 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 social platforms and influencers you choose.

A standard tool you could use is Buzzweb.

With this free tool, you can systematically analyze the influential power of any Instagram user. The tool also allows you to see authentic influencers, spot fake followers, follower profiles, and authentic influencers along with fake profiles, and determine their authenticity.

Designed to conduct a thorough analysis of your Instagram profile, the tool will look at the demographic of your target audience and the creator’s audience, the engagement rate, the quality of your audience, and everything else that matters to give you a granular insight into the account. Even better, there will be an overall profile rating, which you could use to determine if an account is authentic enough for your consideration.

Google the Influencer

Google should let you know 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 top influencer data 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 should include all that information so you can see if they’re fit for promoting your product.

Their online presence and social proof also help clear your doubts about their authenticity. Consider scanning their social media accounts and content to check if Kol uses fake followers. Find out if Kol uses counterfeit followers, and check if they’ve ever collaborated with any major brand.

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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 to convince you to shell out your hard-earned cash for a service you won’t benefit from.  

Also, suppose they’ve ever promoted a major brand before. 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.

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Test their Followers for their authenticity.

It takes time to identify fake influencers to build many fake followers. Suppose you can tell the duration for the fake follower count and the influencer’s followers to accumulate to a large number. In that case, you’ll have an easy time finding out if the credibility score of the influencer’s audience 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 for determining the growth trend of the influencer accounts you’re about to entrust with your marketing needs.

Sharp follower growth, the sudden spikes in followers and followers, clearly indicates to marketers and brands that their influencer partnerships and followers were bought and that you and brands 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 their comments are repetitive and spammy, 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 posts made by other users—if they’re all similar, then the user might have custom-generated them.

This is not always the case—some irrelevant comments on these fake messages can still leak through to a genuine account. However, the difference between fake accounts and generic comments is that the ratio of counterfeit to legitimate accounts to genuine comments will always be lower compared to the high percentage of what a fake account gets.

It’s a Wrap

The influencer marketing influencers you choose to help you promote your product can mean the difference between wasted effort and real promotion success.

Whatever you decide on, don’t let fake influencers or celebrity influencers fool you with some of the tricks they employ. If you can smell a red flag of fake influencers from miles away, baulk at 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. If, even after reading this, you still find it hard to tell if an influencer is influential, consider checking out MediaOne for a free influencer or SEO consultation.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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