Influencer fraud continues to be a problem and can occur in many ways but one of the most common strategies is when influencers decide to purchase followers. Fraudulent influencers will invest in artificially increasing their number of followers and sometimes even use bots. They attempt to avoid the hard work that comes with building a solid social media following.
Influencers are only as strong as the number of people who trust them and brands should realize that they might be paying too much for inflated follower accounts. Your brand needs to have access to genuine and motivated followers. Some of the most common types of influencer fraud include purchased followers, bot comments and pods. Pods are groups of people that form alliances on social media to provide positive comments and likes on each other’s posts.
According to a marketing measurement firm for Instagram called Instascreener, they found that fake engagement on Instagram is on the rise again. Instagram decided to recently remove likes and comments of users from third-party apps and fake influencer engagement rates did decline from 1.7% to 1% on certain accounts with the least authentic audiences. However, between September to December 2019, the fake engagement rate for those accounts increased from 1% to nearly 1.2% because some influencers who report fake engagement rates were able to figure out workarounds to circumvent Instagram’s methods.
How to Ensure Your Brand Recognizes the Warning Signs
If your influencer suddenly has a spike in followers, it can be a sign that they have bought new followers. It is also important to look at their comments and like ratios. If you see that an influencer has a very low amount of followers but a high level of likes and comments, this can indicate that they are auto-generated. You may also notice that some comments on an influencer’s social media platform are irrelevant to the post which might confirm that the comments are fraudulent.
Instead of shying away from influencer marketing, you should only place a small part of your campaign metrics towards engagement and utilize story views, sticker taps or affiliate codes that delve deeper beyond engagement. Influencers become integral to your brand by helping develop a closer relationship with your consumers and build awareness.
It is also important to recognize the power of micro-influencers which typically have less than 100,000 followers and are non-celebrity. They are valued as more authentic and there is a certain trust factor that people have with them versus the mega-influencers that have more than a million followers. Vetting your influencers properly is one of the most important steps you can take to lessen the risk of having a fraudulent influencer.
Discover and Vet Influencers
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Our robust audience analytics breakdown the ages, gender, race, and even income to ensure your influencer’s audience aligns with your target demographic.
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