Simply bought success? The fake follower problem
Although the influencer world is very much about authenticity and building trust with the relevant community, it is not without a couple of bad apples that fiddle with follower numbers to make it look like they have a wider reach. Especially for smaller Instagram profiles and those that don’t seem to be taking off, it may be tempting to boost your own channel with paid followers. After all, the (commercial) success of a profile is measured according to the number of subscribers, among other things. The higher this figure is, the more companies will be prepared to invest greater sums of money in the cooperation.
Only recently there was a fierce debate about fake followers in German media: comedian Oliver Pocher accused well-known influencer Anne Wünsche of buying some of her more than 800,000 followers and thereby faking her massive social media success to some extent. In response, the YouTuber and Instagrammer had a cease-and-desist letter issued to him by the court. However, the dispute has still not been resolved.
Influencer marketing – how can you spot fake followers?
The case described above demonstrates how highly charged the issue of fake followers is. After all, it is associated with a significant loss of trust. The fake profiles can be created en masse on different social media platforms by bots. The major difference between fake and “real”, organic followers is that the former don’t actually interact. They usually merely subscribe to the channel or like posts. Real communication within the community cannot be achieved with fakes.
Therefore, to find out what influencers are suitable for your marketing strategy, you should never just focus on the number of followers, but also spot-check the posts to determine whether and to what extent subscribers actually interact with the channel. A closer look at the followers’ profiles can also be useful: How authentic and active do they seem? For example, do they have their own posts and a personal presence?
If you want to delve deeper, you can use a number of different tools. For Instagram, various analytical tools are available for viewing page statistics. For example, fake follower check tools such as Modash and FakeCheck can be used to analyze interactions, engagement rate, and follower numbers. For Twitter, there is the Twitter Audit platform, which detects and ranks potential fake accounts. When it comes to Facebook, things become a bit more difficult, since there is currently no automated solution for companies to track down fake profiles.
Influencer marketing: how to choose and manage your influencers
Influencer marketing has now become an indispensable tool for many companies. Influencers act as brand ambassadors by mediating between your brand and target group and making a larger audience aware of your products. However, the influencer market has boomed in recent years. On the one hand, the number of influencers and channels used has risen considerably, while on the other hand, a lot of companies are now trying to position themselves on social media through influencer marketing. When planning successful influencer cooperations, it is therefore more important than ever to think through your campaign strategically, choose your influencers smartly, and define mutual expectations and goals with your collaborators as precisely as possible.
In our e-book, we provide you with a comprehensive overview of how to identify suitable influencers, what to consider when working with them, and what legal requirements you need to be aware of.