Influencer Marketing: How To Spot Fakes

When I hop on my personal Instagram account, I feel like I have at least five follow requests from aspiring influencers every single day. From fashion bloggers to foodies to self-proclaimed content creators, everyone is looking for a way to sell themselves on Instagram and partner with their favorite well-known brands.

Sources like Social Media Today and Later reiterate this claim and have predicted that influencer marketing will be one of the top social media marketing trends of 2019. More specifically, there will be a focus on authentic influencer marketing.

As a brand, wouldn’t you rather partner with the honest influencer who has built a meaningful following and genuinely enjoys using your products or services than an “influencer” that pays for followers or uses bots? Obviously! So how do you look through the masses and find the select few that will represent your brand well?

You need to do your research! Before deciding to work with an influencer, you should evaluate the account based on certain criteria. If you catch any of these red flags, you may have a fake influencer on your hands.

1. Their community. How big is their following?

Follower numbers are often one of the most important metrics brands and people fawn over. While the large numbers may look pretty, it’s more beneficial to have meaningful engagement. Does you potential influencer boast 100,000 followers or more? Take a look at some of their posts. Do they only have a couple hundred likes and little to no comments? There’s a good chance this influencer is paying for their followers.

Another factor to look at is their following count. If this influencer has 50,000 followers, but is following 40,000 of them, would you really say they have an impactful influence?

Lifestyle blogger, @headstandsandheels averages 550-850 likes on her posts and receives meaningful comments from her followers.

2. Post Engagement

As mentioned in the previous section, low engagement on an account with a high following may have come from artificial practices. Unusually high numbers are suspect of this as well.

Engagement includes more than likes -- you should also be looking at the comments and shares. Is the comments section riddled with random emojis or generic comments like “Nice post?” This is another sign of a fake influencer. If the comments section has conversation, users tagging their friends, and more personal comments, the influencer has a more authentic following.

3. Their network and earned media value.

How often is this influencer mentioned by others, whether it be from other influencers or brands? Successful influencers should have a larger reach and interact with others in their community.

Female apparel brand Aerie mentions its models on Instagram at least once a day. It is safe to say these women are authentic influencers.

4. Active on more than one social media platform

A good social media influencer would know that it’s important to be visible on more than one platform. Think YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. If you aren’t able to find the profile on any other platforms, be wary.

Now that you can spot the red flags of fake influencers, you can safely invest in the ones that will help showcase your brand. When you work with Love Social Media, we can help you build a list of potential influencers based on what your product is and what you are looking for. Interested in our services? Contact us to get a quote:

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