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In light of Unilever’s pledge back in June to stay away from influencers that buy fake followers, influencer’s credibility is once again under the spotlight.

There’s no doubt about how effective and exciting influencer marketing is, we’ve even bagged ourselves a career from it, however now that more global companies than ever are devoting large chunks of their annual budget to this form of marketing it’s our job to ensure that money is not going to waste.

Bots, ‘like farms’ – yep, that’s a real thing and follower and engagement apps have made it easier than ever to become an influencer overnight and that’s because it is now common knowledge that follower count and engagement rates are what most companies use to determine an influencer’s value and if they want to work with them.

We get it, numbers can be blinding and when you’re a newbie in the big bad world of influencer marketing it’s easy to get it wrong. Here’s some Disrupt tips and tricks to help you find a diamond amongst the cubic zirconia.

  1. Avoid those with a large follower count but low engagement

    This is a tell-tale sign that the influencer’s profile you’re hovering over most likely bought themselves followers in bulk but didn’t fancy spending some extra coin on engagement apps (we’ll discuss these more in a minute). It is worth noting that it is very normal for influencers with a huge follower count to have a slightly lower engagement than micro or mid-level bloggers, however if you’ve got 1 million followers and a 0.1% engagement rate there’s something fishy going on here and we’re not talking about those sassy Sushisamba pics.

  2. Watch out for generic comments
  3. We’ve all seen ‘I love this shot, great profile’ or ‘wow amazing photo 😍😍😍😍 littered throughout the comment section of images on our Insta feed, but what most people may not know is that those type of comments come from bots or engagement apps designed to solely increase an person’s engagement rate.

  4. Are they following for a follow?

    Have you ever seen that little follower icon pop up on your Insta only to realise that the superficial happiness buzz that comes with it is short lived as you notice they’ve since unfollowed you because you didn’t follow back? That’s because unfortunately, you were a victim of their scam to get more followers, not to be dramatic or anything. It’s an old-school strategy and thanks to a litany of follower apps out there many people opt for this as an easy way of getting ‘real’ followers. Thankfully it’s an easy one to spot with sites and software such as Socialblade and to be honest it’s also pretty obvious to the naked eye if you keep a close tab on their following count.

  5. Review their followers

    Have a lot of their followers got no profile photo or have never posted a single picture? Chances are they’re ghost accounts set up purely to up people’s follower count.

  6. Video views

    One of my favourite ways to spot a faker. Many apps and bots are not able to qualify as a video view, meaning that video views should be in keeping with follower count. So, let’s say if you’ve got 400K followers 150K views is suffice because let’s face it maybe not all your followers are interested in your dog snoring. However, if you’ve got someone with 400K followers with 3,000 views on a video you’ve got yourself a ‘fake-fluencer’.

There’s no doubt about it the phenomenon that everyone wants to be an influencer and the benefits that comes with this unique job has added another layer to our industry but considering I enjoy a bit of CSI I’m up for the challenge, are you?

unsplash-logoCraig Sybert