Now that “Full-time Influencer/Blogger” has become a bonafide career option, the industry seems to be growing exponentially year over year. No longer reserved for those with millions of followers, the concept of making a living off of social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram is attracting multitudes of people looking to carve their own slice of the pie. With this influx of new talent in the market, however, comes those who are willing to defraud brands and companies looking to invest in influencer marketing. This may come in the way of buying fake followers, augmenting engagement metrics, false-advertising, or a plethora of other fraudulent tactics that allow certain “influencers” to demand higher rates without the branding value to back it up.
No matter the size of the influencer, here are 4 Red Flags That Can Help You Spot a Fake Influencer As We Begin 2020, according to menswear and lifestyle influencer Gabriel M Padilla:
1. Sudden growth of followers, followed by a noticeable and gradual decline.
It’s perfectly normal for authentic influencers to drop followers daily if they are not growing at a reasonable rate, but according to Gabriel, “If you see someone grow an abnormally large number of followers in a day, and lose more than 100+ daily after that, it’s an obvious indication that they may be faking their overall numbers.”
2. One word, irrelevant, or emoji-only comments on their posts.
One of the telltale signs that an influencer’s comments are fake (besides looking like they come from suspicious accounts) is that the comment is only one or two general words, such as “cool”, “nice”, “great pic”, or if it’s only comprised of one emoji. Gabriel says that these are the easiest for fake comment providers to produce, and therefore they’re the cheapest, as well.
3. The only engagements on an influencer’s post are meaningless comments only coming from other influencers in the same niche… Engagement Pods.
If you see that 99% of the comments on an influencer’s posts seem to be from engagement pods, there’s a good chance that they may be utilizing these groups to prop up what would otherwise be a suspicious lack of organic comments.
4. Poor Audience Quality Metrics on influencer research platforms such as HypeAuditor— but don’t take their word as law.
Influencer research platforms are immensely helpful to brands looking to identify compatible influencers, and can also help you vet out the bad ones using their audience tracking metrics. “Keep in mind that it’s impossible for the platforms to be 100% accurate, so their audience quality metrics should only be used as a general guide,” Gabriel reminds us.