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5 Ways To Tell If An Instagram Influencer Has Fake Followers
You may or may not be aware that not so long ago Instagram changed their API, limiting third-party applications, and as a result, broke some of our favourite Instagram analytics tools like Social Blade 😭
In the influencer world, this has made it harder to tell if influencers have bought fake followers, likes or even comments. Clearly, if we’re spending money or gifting products to influencers we want their reach and engagement to be genuine.
We spoke to Instagram expert @steviesayssocial to get some advice on what she does, and have added in some of my own advice too.
1. Instagram Insights
Ask for screenshots of the influencers statistics, taken from their Instagram analytics.
You’ll want to ask them to open up their account ‘Insights’ send screenshots of their ‘Audience’ tab specifically the gender, age range and location of their followers (ideally by both city and country).
If the influencer is located in Australia but the majority of their followers are from India, for example, this might not be a good sign.
Some smaller influencers do not get these statistics from Instagram because they don’t have a business account, in which case, you can just skip this step.
2. Video Views
Check their video views. It’s easy to fake followers and likes, but much harder and more costly to fake video views.
If they do not post videos, this can sometimes (but not always) signal alarm bells.
3. ‘Like Audit’
Go to their latest post and have a look at who liked the photo.
Do they look like genuine accounts? Or are they strange names and words with numbers like ‘followme324’ or accounts that have never posted before or haven’t posted in years?
Some Instagram influencers buy likes, and often these ‘fake followers’ have these strange names and/or don’t have any followers themselves.
It’s normal to have a few of these (‘cause bots) but not a whole lot in a row.
Another way to do this is to choose ten accounts that have liked their most recent photo and see if they are also followers of the account.
If the influencer hasn’t used hashtags, most of the people liking the photos should be following them too.
4. Similar Engagement
If they are receiving a similar number of likes and comments on each post, this can be a sign that they are buying engagement.
This isn’t always the case as the Instagram algorithm does often show your content to a similar number of people so that you get fairly consistent engagement but if it’s happening again and again it’s pretty suss.
5. No Comments If they often turn off comments on their photos or if they get a large number of likes and almost no comments that could be another sign they’re buying likes.