While social media influencer marketing projects are on the rise, so is the risk that the campaigns will not get the anticipated traction because there’s a plethora of people trying to manipulate the market for short term gain. In other words, Influencer fraud.
The reality is, when there’s money to be made, there’s those who will do everything they can to manipulate the market for their own gain. This is where influencer fraud comes in. Some are buying or botting followers and engagement.
Here are five ways to avoid influencer marketing scams:
Utilise influencer marketing verification tools
There are online tools (freeware and paid) that can detect an influencer’s data over the past month or several months. They often rank the influencer, shows their total views, as well as the number of customers and engagement.
You can see the number of audiences, engagement, and fans they have per day, which gives you an insight into if the influencer is purchasing likes, etc.
Spotting fraud can be tough because ‘creators’ can buy targeted likes and follows over days, months or even years, but these will give you a much better idea if you know what you’re looking at.
Free to use tools like https://socialblade.com/ can also help because you can look to see if there’s spikes or dips in following or engagement, which might be the sign of something sinister.
Look for low influencer engagement
The typical engagement rate per post on Instagram for accounts under 100,000 followers is 3.5%. With influencers, this is often higher, but not always. So that implies a minimum of 3.5% of the influencer’s fans ought to be commenting or liking the post if they’re that size. Poor engagement is a red flag anyway, but if you see rates of 0.1% or massive rates like 45% then that could be another red flag.
Try a free to use influencer marketing tools like the one to check.
Here is their report on Tara Mooknee (27/10/22):
Check influencer post quality
Authentic influencers produce content their fans love and do so consistently. If the material makes use of stock pictures or is repetitive, that’s another huge question to be asked.
Check where the influencers fans are located
If numerous followers originate from the very same area, the influencer might be purchasing bot followers. Though, many bots don’t disclose where they “live,” so be mindful if no location is displayed at all. Alternatively, if your influencer is based in the UK and their majority audience isn’t Western, why is this the case? It could be completely innocent, but it could be something more sinister.
Audit the quality of the influencer’s engagement
If comments are gibberish or unrelated to the material, then bots may be at work. All influencers will see botted content that they can’t avoid and haven’t purchased, but it’s quite easy to see when this is benefiting the influencer and when it’s benefiting the company behind the bot.
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