A few weeks back I wrote about the arrival of the new fake influencers. Buying followers, likes and comments = old news (sort of). These new breed of influencer con artists appear legitimate and go unnoticed, often landing many brand deals along the way.
The reason why I like to talk about this is because it’s unfair for the consumer, it’s scamming brands, it tarnishes the reputation of influencers/social media marketing and most importantly it’s so dishonest. I hate dishonest humans!
I know for a fact there are people in my own Instagram community who are fakes. It bothers me that brands don’t seem to take any notice of their suspicious behaviour. This might be because ‘fakefluencers’ (just mashed fake and influencers together) are great at hiding their shady activity. Today I want to update you on what to look out for if you suspect an influencer is in fact a ‘fakefluencer’.
This list is only a guideline and should not be used in isolation to call out people.
- Fake Engagement. Look at who’s liking the photos. It’s not about fake profiles anymore. Look for a high amount of non niche specific likes. The most common non niche likes seem to come from motivation or fitness accounts. There is a programme? called ‘power likes’ where accounts can pay to join and in return receive a ton of likes (from real and often verified accounts). I learned of this by watching youtube videos regarding fakefluencers. Also look at their comments. Usually they have a ton of comments because they participate in many engagement groups/DM groups. An engagement group is where a select number of people join a private chat group and abide by certain rules such as; when someone posts a photo everyone has to like and leave a comment within the first hour. Everyone in the group gets this favour returned to them with the aim of boosting engagement. Look at all the comments of 5 most recent photos of an influencer you suspect being fake. If you can identify a pattern of the same few people leaving comments in all 5 photos maybe raise an eye brow. If you want to go further, visit the profiles of the commenters and see if they all have comments from the suspected influencer (again check at least 5 recent posts). If this is the case then perhaps raise the other eye brow. Although I don’t participate in engagement groups I don’t have anything against them. The issue is when someone abuses this system (by joining a heap) in order to gain and grow with the sole intent of landing brand deals/making money. The brand may believe this influencer has great engagement but if all the comments are coming from other people in engagement groups they are unlikely to convert into customers.
- Inflation of likes. I’ve already talked about this one but if you monitor an photo/video of a suspected fakefluncer their likes will either be wayyyyy over inflated from the start, meaning in the first hour they may receive 1000+ likes (with a following of only 30k followers). I know some accounts with 30k followers can genuinely get this type of engagement but in the cocktail community it’s rare unless the content is amazing/viral. On the flip side sometimes you get an inflation of likes way down the track. For example in the first 2 hours their post might have 150 likes but then in the next hour they get over 1k likes. This is near impossible and should ring alarm bells.
- Fakefluencers appear legit because they go undetected. As they grow and land more brand deals their status in the community can be cemented. This is why people might not even think to investigate, as these fakefluencers appear to have enough social proof and validation.
- Inconsistent content. Fakefluencers often have content that is just shit or not deserving of the number of likes they have. I think the reason is that they don’t realise how hard it is to create quality content. Creating great or viral content is often something you learn with trial/error and experience. Over time you get to know what your audience likes/dislikes and your content changes in line with this. However if you are receiving a mass number of likes regardless, it doesn’t really matter what you put out there. Therefore the content will often look questionable as to how it got such a high amount of likes. Sometimes their content may vary and even change niche. People who have suffered poor engagement as a result of ‘trying something new’ will learn very quickly to revert back to the theme of their page. But if you are getting engagement no matter what, there is zero care factor (hence the careless changes in theme/niche).
- Views to likes ratio. This is a juicy one. If you happen to see a video post from a fakefluencer make sure you check out (especially early on) the ratio of views to likes. If they have a higher number of likes than views it maybe a sign something fishy is going on. I understand some people can still like a thumbnail but it’s super uncommon that likes on a video would be higher than views. If anything it should be the opposite, especially if the thumbnail is something not even eye catching e.g. a black background.
Thanks for reading. I would love to hear more on this topic so DM me on IG if you have something to share! I source most of my info from Youtube videos, talking to other influencers, marketing companies, as well as doing my own digging into a few individuals. I’ll say it again I just hate dishonest people and I feel for all other content creators (including my self lol) that these scammers are getting away with it. It’s crap that a few individuals fake their way and get rewarded for it. At the end of the day I think they will be caught out somehow or IG could be erased all together which will put an end to this whole problem….. so please subscribe to my blog (loll sozzz for the cheeky cheeky).