‘Fake’ what does the term actually means? If we browse the dictionary meaning of the term, it means ‘Not Genuine’ or ‘Fraud’. It beholds a negative meaning and of course when used as an affix or suffix for any person, thing, or object, creates a negative impact. The environment today is predominated with this terminology in many ways and so does when it comes to influencing the world of marketing and brand promotion.
Here, we talk about fake influencers. So, let us know who are fake influencers? These are smart social media users who challenge to play the role of influencers but do not have any kind of positive impact on the real audience. They start their journey of negativity and fraudulent activities by creating fake accounts across various social media channels. On these accounts, they stock photos and videos to mislead the users of specific social media platforms. For example, if you are looking for a list of Twitter influencers, then there are possibilities that amidst the entire list majority of them are fake accounts ruled by inorganically purchased followers. When we consider the engagement ratio, it reflects at its peak and appears to be real beholding a strong influencer. However, with purchased followers, every aspect of the account can be conveniently manipulated.
Surprising is our reaction as brands and marketing professionals to these fraud accounts created by people with malicious intent. We often get caught up in this trap seeing the rate of audience engagement and of course the ever rising number of followers. But why do we need influencers?
Here it becomes very important to understand what is the need of influencers? There are many reasons we need influencers. Some of the popular reasons are:
- They are creative and hold the power to have strong audience engagement
- They are authoritative and influential while holding quite a many people together
- They help generate sales and drive conversions for improved brand growth and success
- They prove to be a trusted brand voice and can act as brand communicators
- They have a vast audience base and are well aware of their audiences
After knowing the need of influencer, we often plan out a marketing campaign and to run the most successful marketing campaign, we have to dig our minds with a deep understanding of influencer marketing. We have to be conscious and alert so that we don’t get into the trap of fake influencers just for the sake of hunting influencers with extremely high number of followers. Looking at the current business ecosystem, influencer marketing has become the latest trend and has revolutionized the entire industry. People from all bandwagons are deeply influenced by people or celebrities whom they follow and subscribe to. Whether it is You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, followers look for strong people with authority and influence.
Now, let us understand what is the impact of influencer fraud? Precisely to mention, it is the most dangerous thing that can happen to a brand. It directly hampers and image and financials of a brand because there are no real time results displayed. How can we even think of having effective results and a higher ROI when the audience we are presenting our brand products or services is fake. Even when you consider for the impressions, many of these fake people tend to create impressions using fake followers. With limited resources, the scenario becomes most challenging with these fraud accounts. Moreover, when it comes to the trust factor that we as a brand have created with strenuous efforts for long, one such mistake can take us down with broken customer trust and low brand reputation.
Hence, it is very important to stay away from fake influencers and here’s how we can take measures to spot fake followers:
- Check the follower-to-engagement ratio. Anything unusual in this ratio is a clear sign of a fraud influencer account. For example, if the ratio is unusually low, it is evident that the engagement with a fake audience is not possible and if the ratio is extremely high with a sudden rise then it is certain that everything is played smartly. Even when we get to see identical engagement ratios across all posts it is a warning sign. So, here we need to be alert and see how the influencer is engaging with the audience.
- Once you are done with analyzing the engagement ratio, it is important to consider the engagement quality. Go through all the comments and reviews to understand and judge the concept in a clear and precise manner. If the account is genuine and the engagement real; each and every comment will be in alignment with the post.
- Check for the sudden increase in the massive number of followers. Earning followers and subscribers is not a one-day job. However, it needs days, months, and years of hard efforts in the marketing process.
- Then it is important to undergo a screening process to judge and analyze the influencer. Ask for audience insights considering the demographics of the business and the target audience base. Through this insight, we get to understand the reach, impressions, and other important statistics. Once aware of all these parameters, it becomes feasible and convenient to understand how smart and how influential the influencer marks his or her presence in the industry.
- Through all the screening process and the process of judgment, it is important that we undergo a thorough interview just as a job interview. Ask for reviews, appreciations, and testimonials from others companies with which they have collaborated in the past. It is also a straightforward way to confirm what ROI the influencer has been delivering all through the course of his or her professional journey as an influencer. This understanding becomes a key insight into knowing and confirming the authenticity of an influencer.
The Bottom Line
The top online influencers are always like a cherry on the cake. Once we are able to spot fake followers and invest all the time, efforts, and money on the right marketing approach with authenticity and transparency, there is nothing that can hold us back. That’s the power of influencer marketing if chosen the right influencer and if done the right way.