Influencer marketing is big business. Eighty-six percent of marketers have influencer strategies in place and budgets for campaigns continue to grow—in fact, by 2019, influencer marketing spend on Instagram alone is projected to reach $2 billion. While brands view influencer marketing as an opportunity to reach Millennial and Gen Z audiences, in some cases, they may be getting less than they bargained for.
In an attempt to boost follower counts and therefore attract paid sponsorship opportunities, some influencers are buying fake followers and engagement to artificially inflate their profile. Brands are tasked with protecting their investment and making sure their influencers they’re working with are legitimate, and have grown their follower bases organically. How can marketers make sure the influencers they’re working with are authentic? A few key giveaways:
Three Ways to Identify Fake Followers
1. There’s a sudden growth in followers
Building a fan base takes time. Influencers must consistently create content that resonates with their audience and leads to a steady acquisition of followers over time. Sudden spikes in followers, especially in the hundreds or thousands, are extremely rare and highly unlikely.
2. Engagement levels are inconsistent or incongruent
Marketers look to engagement metrics such as likes, shares, and comments to gauge campaign effectiveness. Influencer accounts with bot/fake followers tend to have much lower engagement than organically grown influencer fan bases. Look to the comments section for red flags – bots often leave random comments that have nothing to do with the post content or are extremely generic.
3. Check out follower demographics
While there are some influencers with a global following, most have fan bases within their home country or region. One clear giveaway is an influencer with a large following from outside their home country. For example, it simply wouldn’t make sense for a California-based lifestyle influencer to attract a large following from India or China. Also, accounts without profile pictures and/or content are usually bots.
Before launching your next influencer marketing campaign, do some groundwork to ensure the influencers you’re working with are authentic. Our suite of marketing services includes vetted influencer programs to meet every goal. Contact Women's Marketing today to learn more.