There has been many a success story that has come out of influencer marketing in the past, with brands seeing huge increases in sales thanks to paying influencers to promote their products. However, whilst this may work when it’s genuine, unfortunately, retailers can fall into the trap of working with fake influencers who have bought followers, so whilst they may seem viable on the outside, their engagement levels are not as high as their followers would suggest. Paying these influencers to promote your products and brand is essentially nothing short of a waste of your time and money, so, it’s important to spot and avoid follower fraud, before it’s too late.
Check engagement rates
When seeking out influencers and content creators for your brand to work with, look beyond the number of followers an account appears to have. If you’re looking to work with mid-tier influencers with a following of 20K plus, don’t just take that number at face value. Instead, have a look at how they’re engaging with other Instagram users on their posts – are they receiving comments from genuine accounts? A picture with a few likes and barely any comments from an ‘influencer’ with followers in the tens of thousands should ring alarm bells when it comes to questioning its authenticity.
Assess follower growth
Tools that track social media statistics, such as Social Blade, are well worth the investment because they allows you to track the rate in which an account has gained followers. Natural, organic growth will show a steady increase of accounts that they follow and accounts that follow them. Anything fake will be unnatural with sudden increases and dramatic decreases when it comes to follower counts. Usually, an influencer that has bought followers and/or likes will be outed with the use of Social Blade. This means that your brand is saved from investing money into something with no return.
View their audience location
This is often something that is missed or discounted. However, for retailers working with influencers, running an audience report can reveal whether or not their audience is genuine. If an influencer has a country in their audience that deviates by more than 50% from the average for an influencer in their home country, then it’s likely they have bought followers somewhere down the line. So, influencers that have a large following based in a country they are not associated with, will be flagged.
Unfortunately, going into influencer partnerships blind is something that still happens, a lot. At Hit Search, we vouch for influencer marketing working wonders for retailers but it’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of fraudsters. If you have a retail brand and would like to start working with influencers, we can help. Get in touch today.