The problem of fake followers, likes, comments, and views exists for many reasons. And investing in influencer marketing can hurt brands if influencers with fake followings and engagement falsely claim their audience reach.
A cybersecurity firm says brands will lose $1.3 billion to fake followers this year.
Where Do Fake Instagram Followers Come From?
Internet things are sometimes not to be taken at face value due to their nature. In recent years, Instagram hacking has been on the rise – where someone takes over someone’s account maliciously. For another example, the entire follower base you have on social media can have a significant impact on your influence.
Because of this, some people buy followers to maximize their earnings. There might be some real people in the following, but most are bots that create fake accounts.
In 2017, Instagram cracked down on these fake accounts, posing a severe problem. In the wake of this decision, the service was shut down, which allowed users to get followers by liking and commenting on other users’ posts.
Influencers and brands alike would benefit from reducing the number of fake accounts on the platform so they can focus on authenticity and engagement instead of sheer numbers.
How to Spot Fake Instagram Followers?
Even though fake Instagram followers don’t always display the same warning signs, there are a few signs. Here are a few:
- Profiles need to be more detailed.
- The account has few or no posts.
- Low or high engagement rates.
Please note that the above list is not exhaustive and that a fake account may only sometimes display the above characteristics.
However, brands interested in creating successful influencer marketing campaigns should work with influencers who have real online audiences. This list is incomplete, and an account that displays the above characteristics isn’t necessarily fake. Influencer marketing works best when brands collaborate with influencers with actual online reach.
A Genuine Follower Value
Influencers play an increasingly important role in digital marketing due to their ability to provide engagement with campaigns. Digital marketers can better understand an influencer’s potential reach by assessing an account’s engagement rate.
For a brand campaign to succeed, the influencer’s followers must see the campaign and be inspired to engage with it. Engagement is key to determining a campaign’s success, as brands want to connect with an audience interested in what they offer.
It isn’t just audiences, interests, and demographics that contribute to determining whether a collaboration will benefit both parties – influencers’ audiences, interests, and demographics are also important considerations. That’s why deciding to collaborate is often a combination of factors.
In recent years, social media platforms like Instagram have taken steps to combat fake followers, and brands of all sizes can benefit from these changes. Instagram removed millions of fake accounts in 2014, and Facebook and Twitter followed.
Instagram announced at the beginning of 2018 that it was changing its Application Program Interface (API), which determines how apps interact with Instagram. These changes should help fake combat followers, and the updates will stop fake influencers from automatically following accounts and liking/commenting.
The fight against fake followers is picking up steam, so genuine influencers will further dominate digital marketing.