Blogger’s Park: spotting fake social media influencers

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By Gautam Madhavan

Influencer marketing is a gold rush in the digital world. It attracts a lot of money and a lot of people, including dodgy influencers. Fake influencers are people or accounts that have gained a significant number of followers through the use of bots or purchased followers. To access influencer benefits, many people buy fake followers or even fully functional Instagram accounts.

Ellen DeGeneres, a top American television host and comedian, tops the list with 58% fake Instagram followers, according to a survey by the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. Bollywood’s Deepika Padukone, global icon Priyanka Chopra Jonas and popular rapper Badshah are also on the list. Here’s how to tell the difference between fake and real influencers:

Follower to engagement ratio

Fake influencers often have a low engagement rate while having a large following because bots and fake accounts make up the majority of their followers. Another red flag is an overly high engagement rate fueled by poor quality fake engagement. Again, there could be consistent and identical engagement rates between posts due to the influencer buying a specific form of engagement for each post.

Rapid increase in subscribers

A dramatic increase in followers is another sure sign of bought influence. The increase was probably caused by all the bot accounts that started following them after paying for more followers. Authentic influencers will, in most cases, see consistent follower growth with a few minor slowdowns here and there.

Posting frequency

Another thing to watch out for in dubious profiles is how often the user posts. An inactive account with a large number of followers and few posts is cause for concern. Genuine accounts will have a steady upward growth rate in their follower count and post content regularly. Their growth rate can increase significantly due to greater publicity and recognition, but not randomly.

Use influencer tracking tools

When you add a technology layer to your influencer audit, you get measurable results and are able to make safer investments. While manual cross-referencing is essential, AI-based technologies and platforms can help detect and filter out fake followers, bot accounts, and misinformation. AI is useful in identifying and eliminating fraudulent interactions by monitoring click-through rates, affiliate links, coupon codes, user bio descriptions, etc., to identify patterns.

Take into account the quality of the hearing

Determining the quality of an audience is another crucial step in identifying fake influencers. A program like IG Audit thoroughly analyzes the profiles of followers of a public Instagram account. It can tell the difference between bots and real accounts.

The author is CEO, Mad Influence

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