Spotting fake followers and what to do about it

spotting fake followers vamp
Reading time: 3 minutes
Posted on | Insights | By: Kirsten Stanley

The biggest social media buzzword at the moment is engagement. Brands are always on the hunt for authentic high quality influencers who have a strong engagement with their followers.. Even so, the compensation from brands for sponsored posts is still based on how many followers an influencer has. This in turn impacts how people perceive how popular an Instagrammer is and their influence.

Introducing bots. They are responsible for the fake accounts that roam social networking sites like Instagram and Twitter. They’re used by social media users and against them. For Instagrammers looking to boost their account bots might seem like the simple solution rather than growing their following organically. Organic growth takes time, effort and requires strategically planned consistent content.

While an influencer’s reach is used as a marker by brands to assess their worth, it’s no longer a guarantee of the return brands will receive from working with them. In the world of influencer marketing, an authentic influencer with high quality content and strong community engagement is far more valuable than an influencer with high reach that may not transfer into awareness or sales for the brand.

How to catch bots on your account

As more brands catch on to fake accounts and Instagrammers that use them, it’s becoming easier to spot the bots. Over the last few years, the technology available to take down fake accounts and protect the privacy of users online has increased dramatically. Brands are making an active attempt to keep clear of Instagrammers who have fake followers. Equally Instagram users are working hard to protect themselves from a bot attack.

Users with low privacy settings are the most vulnerable to bots and fake followers. However there are steps influencers and brands can use to spot fake accounts.

The most obvious signs of fake accounts are often easy to spot. Their follow-to-follower ratio is usually the first red flag. Accounts with significantly less followers than the amounts of people they are following, are usually fake.

Instagram accounts with obscure handles or no display photo are also a suspect. For most social media users, Instagram is a platform to express their identity and interests. The most simple way they communicate this is through their display photo, bios and posts. Without these personal insights, it’s difficult to identify whether an Instagrammer is legitimate.

Spam is another red flag to look out for. Random posting, commenting or messages in large quantities often about unrelated content could mean you have a fake account amongst your followers. Fake, generic comments on a post can put off other followers from commenting. Removal of these accounts will help clean up your account and can ensure authentic engagement within your online community. Deleting these accounts will also protect your account from hackers.

What is Instagram doing to stop this?

Instagram’s verification feature limits the ability of bots to create fake accounts of your behalf and shows your validation to the online community. The Instagram blue tick is a seal of approval of your identity and credibility as a prominent social media figure. This feature also communicates your authenticity to brands, making you desirable to work with.

Conclusion

Growing your following organically takes time and a lot of man hours behind the scenes. Shortcuts in this area will only cap your ability to attract likeminded followers and brands with a similar ethos. With the growing awareness of bots by brands and influencers, their power to damage the credibility of Instagrammers is limited.

 

November 20, 2018

Spotting fake followers and what to do about it