How to not let FAKE Influencers sabotage your campaign?

Instagram today is overflown with influencers.

Influencer marketing is the top target for brands’ marketing budget, as this type of advertising practically benefits all the sides of the “equation”:

  • Brands are benefitting that their message is being spread out in powerful ways by Influencers a.k.a Key Opinion Leaders, who help them sell and bring more awareness to the products / services.
  • Influencers are benefitting as they are rewarded with money or free products of brands from the field they are popular in.
  • The audiences are learning more about the industry they’re passionate by gaining insight from those they trust and follow on social media.

Since it’s a very powerful marketing channel, more and more brands are trying to find just the right influencers to collaborate with.

However, it is not so easy to find the right influencer who would actually bring some value to your campaign. Unfortunately, many influencers are not as they appear: they are using tricks and hacks to appear more valuable as they actually are. In other words, a lot of Influencers are FAKE.

What does a Fake Influencer mean?

Fake influencers artificially increase their followers and engagement to seem more influential.

In some more extreme cases, the whole person might be made up, where a group of people would use stock photos or hire a model to pose as the person, then buy followers, comments and likes to make the “influencer” look influential.

The paid services with armies of bots who can follow or leave comments in bulk have been a phenomenon for the last couple of years, and their popularity doesn’t seem to drop despite Instagram’s punishments of suspicious activity by shadow banning or deleting the accounts.

Why are FAKE Influencers so dangerous?

Being a victim of a FAKE influencer can be harmful for your brand in a number of ways. One of the biggest impacts is on your brand financials. Although for some bigger companies a couple of thousands of dollars, lost in fake impressions, might be an easy fix and not too big of a deal, for a smaller company that is trying really hard to be careful with their limited budget – the loss can hit very hard.

I want to help you avoid mistakes and not lose your money on fraudulent accounts with some tips.

How to spot FAKE Influencers?

There are a few points you should pay special attention to when choosing your influencer. Play your own detective.

  1. Followers to engagement ratio.

Analyse their comments and likes number on a few posts. Does it look suspiciously low? Generally, the more followers the lower the engagement, but it shouldn’t go to less than 1%, unless they are a multi-million celebrity.

2. Comments on their pictures.

Browse through the comments on their pictures. Do they look genuine or bot-like? Are they about the post or look a bit off? In case of fake influencers, you might notice a significant amount of emoji comments and general comments that could be used on any photo or video. Generic comments would include comments like “wow,” “beautiful view,” “nice,” “great pic,” “amazing shot,” etc.

3. Two-way communication.

Does an influencer reply to their followers and genuinely shows like they care? If they do, chances are their followers are real and they value each follower’s presence.

4. Rapid follower growth/drop.

You can use different online tools that will provide you with a tracking of an influencers following over time. If you see a significant rise in their followers: they could have bought the followers OR they also could have produced a viral piece of content. Similarly, look out for a rapid drop in followers – it could have been either Instagram’s cleanup of bots OR a person might have done/posted something controversial that a lot of people disagree with.


In conclusion, I sincerely hope you have learned a lesson in auditing your influencers before working with them. Once you have identified a FAKE Influencer, avoid a partnership with them and also try to keep a record of the fake influencers you’ve identified. You wouldn’t need to go through a lengthy research process all over again in your future campaigns.

If you want to maximize your impact from Influencer Marketing, you are welcome to become a partner of anyStarr. We will do all the hard work for you and find just the right Influencers that would benefit your brand the most!

Learn more about us in the video below:

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