When determining the worth of working with a social media influencer, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the numbers. The number of followers an influencer has across various social channels can definitely provide clues as to their online reach, but numbers aren’t the only factor to consider.
Influencer marketing can produce amazing results, and both businesses and influencers have been eager to use it. Unfortunately, this has also resulted in the rise of would-be influencers who use a phony online following to get a piece of the action.
Instagram, a photo and video-sharing platform, is just one of the social networks most affected by these bogus accounts. With this in mind, we discuss the rise of fake Instagram followers.
What are Instagram Fake Followers?
Fake Instagram followers are either real people who follow accounts for money or bots that are used to rapidly increase a person’s follower count. Whether they are bots or real people, fake Instagram followers will not engage with the accounts they follow. So, having fake Instagram followers isn’t helping anyone.
Why Do You Need to Know How to Identify Fake Instagram Followers?
So, there are fake Instagram followers, and you or the influencers with whom you work have them.
What difference does it make to you? Why should you spend time learning how to identify fake Instagram followers?
- If you have fake Instagram followers on your account, your follower count will be inflated, and your analytics data on engagement and other metrics will be misleading.
- If the influencers you work with have a large number of fake Instagram followers, they will use their follower count to demand higher pay without delivering the desired results.
The main issue with having fake followers is that they do not interact with the accounts they follow. As a result, they are essentially useless and may even be harmful due to their deception.
In general, fake Instagram followers cause more harm than good and should be removed on a regular basis.
Do you want to know how to spot fake Instagram followers? Find out in the following section.
How to Identify Fake Instagram Followers?
You can identify fake Instagram followers manually or by using a tool that does it for you. In this section, you will learn both methods for identifying fake Instagram followers.
There is no profile picture
The absence of profile pictures is the first telltale sign of fake followers or accounts. After all, if you’re going to make a fake Instagram account to follow people for money, why would you put your real photo on there?
Examine this Instagram account, which lacks a profile picture, a name, a bio, and posts. If you see someone like this following you or an influencer you want to investigate, be aware that it is most likely a fake account.
However, because many fake accounts use stock images to add fake profile pictures, this method is not foolproof for detecting fake Instagram followers.
Nonetheless, if you notice accounts with no profile pictures among your or your influencers’ followers, they are worth investigating and cross-checking using the other tactics listed below.
There are no or very few posts.
One feature of a fake account is that it usually has no or very few posts. This is quite obvious given that fake followers do not actually spend time on the platform building an audience.
Fake accounts exist on Instagram solely to follow other accounts in exchange for money. As a result, it makes sense for them to avoid devoting time and effort to creating and posting content.
You might have noticed that the account in the previous example had no posts at all. That is suspicious and should be recognized as a red flag.
One note of caution:
Some fake accounts may have a lot of useless posts just to trick Instagram into thinking they’re real accounts. While this is not a foolproof method for detecting fake followers, it does work well in conjunction with the other tricks mentioned in this post.
So, when performing manual analysis to identify fake Instagram followers, look for multiple red flags rather than just one or two. Other suspicious elements in the preceding example are:
- The username is nonsense.
- There is no profile image.
- There is no bio or description.
When you consider all of these factors together, you can be certain that it is a bogus account.
Low Engagement Rate
Fake followers rarely interact with other profiles. Look at how many accounts they follow and how many follow them back when you visit their profile. If you see low numbers, it could mean the profile isn’t genuine. Even if their profiles are private, you can still see the follower-following ratio.
If their account is public, you can see if they have made any posts. These profiles typically post generic posts, and occasionally promotional material.
Low engagement or activity rates can also occur with accounts that have a large number of fake followers or influencers. Genuine influencers understand the importance of posting content on a regular basis in order to retain and attract new followers.
Spammy or Generic Comments
Until now, all of the topics we’ve discussed have revolved around the account itself: username, profile picture, number of accounts followed, and so on. However, for this hack, you’ll need to look closely at your own or an influencer’s Instagram posts. Essentially, for whichever account you want to identify fake followers, you must examine its posts for spammy or irrelevant comments.
Examine the accounts that make such comments, and we’re sure you’ll find some other red flags. This hack will not only assist you in identifying fake followers for your Instagram account, but it will also assist you in identifying fake influencers who buy fake engagement. By only working with authentic influencers, you can avoid working with such influencers and truly reap the benefits of influencer marketing.
In conclusion, as we place more value on our digital identities, it has never been easier to fake information online. Instagram is a hotbed of misinformation, phony numbers, and misrepresented content. While there is no way to know for certain whether an account has fake followers, there are numerous indicators that indicate inauthentic Instagram users.
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