Spotting Fake Instagram Influencers

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Spotting Fake Instagram Influencers by 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

Today’s consumers are a skeptical group. Gone are the days where a marketing team could run an expensive advertising campaign in a magazine and expect easy sales; instead, today’s shopper relies on the opinions of family, friends, and personal heroes.

Enter the rise of the influencer: influencer marketing utilises an individual’s personality and often cult-like following to draw consumers’ attention to certain products. At the moment, it seems to be working. According to one study, some 31 percent of respondents had purchased a product or service after seeing it in an influencer’s post on social media.

Like all things, however, influencer marketing also has its own set of shortcomings and risks. Influencer fraud is one of them, and has tricked countless brands into working with users with an inflated, or even non-existent, influence over an online audience. Even savvy brands can fall into this trap, with fake influencers often posting high-quality images not much different from those of a real influencer. Working with a fake influencer, however, can be hugely damaging- to both a brand’s image and its bottom line.

Here’s how to spot an influencer fraud.

Unusual follower-to-engagement ratio

One way to calculate engagement is to divide the number of engagements within the last 30 days by the total number of posts in that time. Then, divide this amount by the total number of followers, and calculate this as a percentage to determine a user’s actual engagement rate.

Assess engagement quality

Analyzing the quality of engagement, then, is just as important. Comments like “amazing pic” or mere emojis can be a sign of bought engagement, since they don’t mention anything specific about the content. There is every chance they are comments made by bots.

Be sceptical of sudden follower count spikes

Tools like the Creator Statistics Tool are great for analyzing the follower growth rate of user, or you can choose to keep your eye on a prospective influencer for some time before reaching out for a partnership deal.

For small businesses and startups with limited resources, partnering with a fake influencer can have a devastating impact on early growth. It is essential, then, that brands learn to read the signs, and sift authentic influencers from the rising tide of frauds.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and founder of 5W Public Relations and leading influencer marketing agency.

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Ronn Torossian is CEO & Founder of 5WPR & one of America’s most notable PR executives. He is the Author of best-selling PR book, “For Immediate Release.“

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