How to Spot Influencer Fraud

How to Spot Influencer Fraud

December 10, 2019 7:38 pm

Influencer marketing has become an easy and affordable option for advertisers. This type of collaboration can be extremely beneficial for creating the brand awareness your company needs in order to grow. Partnerships with influencers are a great way to promote your product or service. Unlike traditional advertising methods, influencer marketing allows a company to partner with influencers of various sizes to get an outsider’s perspective of their product and how it can benefit their followers and potential customers. 

These collaborations typically include providing an influencer with a product or service in exchange for a review or promotion on social media. A company encourages the influencer to honestly share their experience with the product via media like blogs, social platforms, and YouTube. These partnerships are often paid collaborations, but sometimes solely product is given in exchange for promotion.

When brands work with influencers, they want to know their product or service will get the attention it deserves. But having thousands of followers doesn’t necessarily make the influencer valuable to your company. Because of recent issues of “influencer fraud,” brands need to be more selective with whom they want to work on campaigns. But what exactly does influencer fraud entail? Usually, it’s a matter of having fake followers from either purchasing massive amounts at a time, or by using bot-like software that increases growth over time but often provides a less engaged following. By partnering with an influencer who has fake followers, your brand can be exposed to followers who aren’t engaged or who may not even exist.

Just how bad is this issue? According to a survey from Points North Group, up to 20% of a mid-level influencers’ followers may be fraudulent. Digiday reported that a single day’s worth of posts tagged #sponsored or #ad on Instagram contained more than 50 percent fake engagement. The group also found that bot comments are responsible for over 40 percent of total comments for more than 500 of 2,000 sponsored posts made each day.  But how can your brand protect itself from an ineffective campaign?

Here’s what to look for:

  1. The first thing to look at is the content. Is the influencer producing high-quality photos with plenty of well-deserved likes? Great. If the influencer has low-quality images with tons of likes and very few comments, this is likely a red flag.
  2. Look at the number of followers and compare it to the numbers of likes they receive on each post. If you’ve got an influencer with 10K followers but each post gets 100 or so likes, consider this suspicious. Look for a 3-5% ratio of likes to followers to be considered a good-to-great engagement.
  3. Read the comments they receive. If they’re getting a lot of generic, robotic-sounding or unrelated comments, something might be up. Comments like “Nice!” “Like for likes!” and comments with a lot of emoticons may signal a bot.
  4. Look at who they are following. If the influencer is following thousands of accounts but only has a few followers in return, they may be liking massive accounts at a time just to get likes/followers to grow.

In summary, an influencer with a genuine, engaged following will have high-quality, curated posts with a good ratio of likes and comments. Their post copy will be grammatically correct with no misspellings. Other campaigns they have worked on should include constructive, honest reviews. 

Use your best judgment to decide if working with an influencer is right for you. Keep in mind that each influencer starts from the bottom, so a small following isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some micro-influencers have higher engagement rates than those with millions of followers simply because they haven’t grown at a rapid rate and are able to maintain a great relationship with a smaller community. Be more mindful with the influencers you want to work with and your brand will greatly reap the benefits and added exposure.

Click here to contact Trending Family for help identifying the best authentic creators for your next influencer marketing campaign.

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