Since influencer marketing has become an important discipline in marketing and brands are increasingly using it as a strategy that can generate high ROI in their campaigns, a large number of scams and fake influencers have proliferated. It’s a fact: not all influencers that we find on social networks are authentic.
Still, only 40% of active content creators worldwide are free from various forms of scams like buying followers, paid comments, etc.
The content marketing agency The Box Company points out ten keys to spotting influencer scams.
Automated bots are a type of influencer marketing scam. These bots are automated programs for liking, sharing and commenting. These users often use them to improve the metrics of their own posts to make it appear that they have an active community. However, the commitment they offer is not real.
It is perhaps the most used and well-known method, as it has been shown that it is possible to buy followers for very little money. Cheating consists of buying a certain number of followers with the aim of making a profile appear as a community with many followers. It is important to note that profiles that have bought followers do not get a good engagement rate. An Instagram profile with 100,000 followers but around 10-20 likes per post is a clear example of a fake profile.
Engagement groups are people who come together in groups to share likes, comments, and followers. This is how they create the illusion of real interactions, and while they are real people and not bots, such interactions have no real value to the influencer. Let’s remember that what makes a social media influencer relevant is their relationship with their community. Using these types of groups is a ploy which, while exposed, is a reason to undermine the credibility of said influencer.
reputation of the company
Becoming a victim of a fake influencer can have very serious consequences that go beyond the economic damage. Hiring the wrong influencer can damage the company’s reputation and damage the trust of its target audience. And if the audience finds out that the company has joined a fake account, they might doubt the credibility of the products, services, and brand.
ignorance of the brand
Influencer fraud has become a major risk factor for brands and businesses looking to promote their products or services through influencers.
The main reason brands fall for this type of scam is the lack of knowledge on how to spot a fake influencer. To avoid this, it is recommended to request references about the influencer, study his audience, ask the professional for data and statistics, and use special tools to analyze the profile data.
Look for scam warning signs
If there is little relationship between the number of followers and the number of interactions on the influencer’s profile, raise the alarm. A authentic Influencers interact with their audience through interactions and this is evidenced by likes, comments, views, shares, etc.
While not all followers respond or engage with every influencer post, the ratio of follower count to profile account engagement reflects their authenticity. An average engagement rate would be between 40 and 50 likes or views per post per 1,000 followers.
Rapid increase in followers
Building an active community takes time, and a true influencer invests effort and resources to grow their presence. Perhaps going viral or a sudden surge in popularity can make your follower count grow faster, but that’s not typical. Fake influencer profiles don’t need to build relationships or painstakingly grow their accounts, but can experience rapid growth by buying followers. Therefore, the accounts that are recently created but have a high number of followers are mostly fake profiles.
The audience has nothing in common with the influencer
The target audience of the profile has nothing in common or the influencer is located in an area of the world that has nothing to do with their followers.
For example, an influencer who is from Spain but has followers mainly in Russia or Saudi Arabia etc. is almost always a fake account.
Check influencer trajectory
Check history to see how long you’ve been posting, check if you have profiles on other social networks and how many followers you have on each of them. It’s also worth researching which brands you’ve worked with in the past.
Another recommendation is to search Google for their username, this also applies to micro-influencers. When you google an influencer’s name and nothing comes up, you’re assuming the worst.
Look for warning signs on any social network
We must take into account some specific signals of each social network used. If it’s Instagram, pay attention to the quality of photos, videos, and stories. A fake profile will not invest in quality photos, maintain a feed with valuable content, or use hashtags appropriate to the topic.
When it comes to YouTube, it analyzes the number of views, the ratio between “likes” and “dislikes” of their videos, as well as the type of comments made by their followers.
A video with a lot of views but few comments is likely to lend itself to scams. These signals also apply to other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.