You may have fakes and bots following you without you even knowing it. We’ve collected some pointers and wrote a short guide on how you to perform a fake followers audit. Validate the authenticity of your engagement and reach.
The industry rules are clear – never pay for followers, comments, or any other form of non-organic traffic.
Fake engagement may be the number one issue plaguing influencer marketing right now. It’s the one greatest reasons for brands to
More Focus on Combating Fraud
PR firms are getting wiser about fake engagement statistics and will most likely not turn a blind eye to it. It may cost them their business if they do. Brands like Kelloggs and Unilever are putting more effort into combating “Influencer Fraud”. They detect it quickly and see it as a complete disregard of their business goals and KPIs.
Anyone with fake engagement may be blacklisted from working with PR firms and with any other brand they represent. In fact, social media are starting to take more notice, with Instagram purging fakes and warning users of repercussions for the use of bot services.
How to audit your own account for fakes?
Whether you’ve paid for followers or not, you may still have some bots and fakes follow your account. This is mainly based on your tags and other activity, to which the bots are programmed to react.
This will reflect negatively on you if a brand ever audits your account before doing business with you – If you have fake followers, no matter how they got there, your account has fake engagement as far as brands are concerned.
You don’t necessarily have to pay for
Check your engagement rate
If you have a very low engagement rate you may have fake followers in your account.
Your engagement rate is simply the average number of likes, followers, comments and other engagements that you get per post, divided by the number of followers and posts.
If you want to skip the math, you can also use scrunch.com to easily get your engagement rate. The free plan allows you to look for and import your own profile into the platform.
If your engagement is sub 1%, you either have a very uninterested audience or you need to check deeper for fakes.
Check your engagement type
Engagement type is harder to determine but is vital in understanding whether an account has fake followers. If a majority of your engagement comes from outside of your follower base they are seen by brands as unlikely to turn into customers and would be assumed to be a part of an engagement pod.
Engagement pods are private groups of 10-15 Instagrammers, bloggers, or businesses that have similar audiences. They collaborate in order to increase their Instagram engagement and visibility. They started on Instagram to attempt to “beat the algorithm”, but brands are getting wise to them.
Additionally, if your followers typically engage in a very shallow way, leaving the same “great pic!” comment on every post, they may be bots and fake followers as well. This kind of engagement is undesirable for brands and is immediately visible when viewing your posts.
Check your engagement location
The geographic location of your followers is vital for brands to understand the potential profitability of working with you. If you are a London based food critic but the majority of your followers are from Asia, it will be assumed that you’ve paid for them. Even if that’s not the case, your account will not be seen as suitable for marketing to English speaking audiences.
Keep in mind that in this case, it is much harder to determine if a follower is a fake or simply a foreign fan. Be careful to not alienate non-English speakers if you decide to take steps against fake followers. Try to use the geographic location as an additional variable alongside engagement type and rate.
Growth rate and statistical anomalies
Socialblade is a great tool for checking if your or any other account has bought followers. What you need to do is basically find out if there are any statistical anomalies in your follower count, and compare it to your posts.
If you have a sudden spike in followers right after you posted highly engaging content, everything’s probably normal. If you see the same spike after an account has been inactive for a while, you might have a problem.
An interesting point to make is that Socialblade statistics show that buying followers hurts your account in the long run. There is a steady and constant decline after spikes, and Instagram periodically purges bots and fakes. Your account ends up losing hundreds or thousands of followers within a day and is always in decline after inflating with fakes.
With a combination of engagement rate, type location, and the use of SocialBlade statistics, you can get a clear picture of how many of your followers are genuine and how many aren’t – without spending a penny.