3 Reasons Why Fake Followers Don’t Matter For Successful Influencer Marketing

Tue Feb 13 2018
Best Practices
 Chiara Ferragni, aka The Blonde Salad, at New York Fashion Week. Photo by Imaxtree

Chiara Ferragni, aka The Blonde Salad, at New York Fashion Week. Photo by Imaxtree

If you're in digital or social media marketing, you've heard the recent buzz about fake followers and the supposed "death of influencer marketing". And while the majority of social media influencers have built a large following creating high-quality content, there are some who have done so through bots and shady tactics. 

However, the most successful brands and e-commerce companies doing influencer marketing today have never relied on follower counts as a measure of an influencer's worth, because they use a much more sophisticated sourcing process.

Here are the the most successful tactics that are used by the top 20% of our clients today. 


Stop Paying for Followers

Followers should most likely not be the metric you index on, because it's simply too easy to game the system. The better metric is engagement rate (aka how many likes + comments + clicks a post gets), but even engagement is subject to some manipulation in some extreme cases. That's why AspireIQ employs a combination of factors when evaluating an account that includes:

  • The consistency of the engagement, removing outliers
  • Timing patterns of likes and comments
  • Quality of comments

For example, if an influencer has unusual patterns of growth or is losing influencers on spikes throughout the month, that is a sign that many of their followers aren't legitimate.

 Example of a suspicious follower growth chart

Example of a suspicious follower growth chart


Use Audience Demographics Data to Filter Out Fake Followers

 Example influencer profile on AspireIQ

Example influencer profile on AspireIQ

If media value and awareness are your goals, you should consider leveraging the demographics information directly from social networks as part of the influencer selection process.

AspireIQ has two ways to see audience demographics data to validate whether this influencer has legit followers:

  • Implied demographics based on the crawl-able data that is publicly available for each social account. This is available for the vast majority of accounts on our database.
  • Direct demographics data, including impressions data, from Facebook and Instagram by using the official Facebook OAuth API. This way you'll get the exact audience data for any influencer you're considering working with, but you need to request access to their analytics ahead of time using our new Instagram Insights feature (available today for Enterprise plans). 

Using either of these methods, clients can work closely with their customer success team to determine the right filtering criteria for your brand, such as "U.S. based influencers who have at least 50% or more audience in the U.S."


Partner With Influencers For More Than Just Their Audience

 Example of HelloFresh partnering with Mandy Moore to create content for a paid social 

Example of HelloFresh partnering with Mandy Moore to create content for a paid social 

The fact that there are literally millions of high quality influencers available today across social media is quite simply the greatest opportunity for content creation of all time

In today's world where a professional photo shoot might cost upwards of $30,000, you can use that same budget to get 100 different influencers to create thousands of original images and videos to utilize across every single marketing channel. 

Better yet, once you've experimented and figured out which influencers are the best spokesmen for your target audience, you can pursue deeper partnerships with them such as:

  • Becoming an ongoing brand ambassador
  • Utilizing their content on your website, social media and other owned channels 
  • Leveraging their content for paid ads as well as running ads directly through their social media accounts (see example)

Being able to work with influencers in exciting, personalized ways is exactly why we built AspireIQ the way we did - so that each influencer-brand relationship can be customized to fit the needs of your marketing team. 


How can I tell if a content creator has fake followers?

If you want to avoid working with people that have fake engagement, source influencers from a true influencer marketing platform, like AspireIQ, so that you know you’re working with high-quality influencers only.

Each influencer that signs up for AspireIQ is vetted to ensure that their follower count and engagement is authentic. We vet each influencer to look for the following read flags that are generally indicators that someone has bought their following:

1. Their followers just don’t look legit

Instagram Insights on the AspireIQ platform provides brands with data around each content creator's audience demographics including location. We have found that content creators who buy followers have an unexplainable amount of followers from Latin American countries and Russia. We immediately flag content creators with suspicious followers and ban them from the platform.

2. An influencer has a high followers count and low engagement rate

Usually people that buy fake followers, don't buy likes and comments as well. So, if someone has 100,000 followers but is only averaging 100 likes per post, it’s usually a clear sign that their audience is either not engaged with their content, are they aren’t real people. Either way, you’ll want to avoid working with these people.

3. Suspicious comments

If someone goes to the extent of buying fake followers as well as fake likes and comments, the comments from fake accounts will stick out like a sore thumb. For example, if someone posts a picture with their puppy, and you’re seeing irrelevant comments like “wow that looks delicious” or broad comments like “love this pic!”, then it’s probably a clear sign that there is something fishy going on.

After each influencer is vetted by our community manager, they are then accepted into the AspireIQ network so that we can surface our clients the highest quality influencers.

Interested in leveraging AspireIQ to generate content from high quality influencers? Email [email protected] and see a demo today!

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