Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Influencer Marketing Fraud: The Dark Side of Social Media Marketing

4 Things to Look Out for When Engaging in Influencer Marketing

With the rise of social media as a way to market products and services, came the emergence of a new class of online celebrities – influencers. Influencers are defined by their large following on social media and their status of not quite being famous but instead, admired and respected enough to influence others.

In recent years, more and more companies and brands have allocated money towards influencer marketing which allows them to partner with an influencer to promote their business. They might send a PR kit filled with free goodies or discounted services in exchange for being featured on the influencer’s personal accounts. While becoming an influencer is an attainable goal, many people are blinded by money and engage in unethical methods of getting there. Here are four things to stay on the look-out for when partnering with an influencer.

Purchased Followers

It can be easy to be attracted to an influencer’s account by a large number of followers, but it’s important to investigate how many of those followers are real. The quickest way for someone to reach a perceived influencer status is by purchasing fake followers, also known as bots. These bots are generated solely to increase follower count and are not linked to real people. Because the goal of a company looking to participate in influencer marketing is to reach more people and promote their business, you can see why these bots are problematic. Some signs of purchased followers include an influx of followers from developing countries and a low reach or view count in comparison to their number of followers.

Inorganic Account Activity

An influencer account having bot followers may help them seem legitimate at first glance, but when taking a deeper look into user analytics, these bots can’t replicate normal human behavior just yet. If an account has the same number of likes or comments on every picture, its followers are probably bots. For accounts with authentic followers, the engagement rate will fluctuate from post to post depending on the content and time posted. Watch out for large or sudden increases and decreases in the account’s number of followers. If you come across them, the owner of the account likely bought followers to compensate for the deficit of bots that Instagram removes itself. Look into the comments on posts as well. If the comments are mostly emojis, irrelevant, or generic, the “followers” who posted them are- you guessed it- fake!

No Experience with Brand Collaboration

Wannabe influencers seem to think all they need is a high follower count to garner partnership offers. Don’t be the company that lets them solidify this belief. While finding a good influencer that has no previous brand collaborations can sometimes be a good thing, make sure you take into account the analytics for user engagement as well. If an influencer boasts high engagement and a large reach but has nothing to show for it, there’s a fair chance that they could be a lot less than what they make themselves out to be.

Using False Locations to Showcase a Worldwide Reach

Instagram allows users to tag their photos with a location. In doing so, people local to that area can see the post and interact with it however they choose. Fake influencers, however, take advantage of this feature by tagging their pictures with locations they’re not actually in so they can direct traffic from those areas to their posts. When tracking their analytics, it may seem like they have a global span of engaged followers, but this is often not the case.

Looking to revamp your business’ social media accounts to boost success independently from influencer collaborations? Look no further! Our team of experts at Kraus Marketing are here to help you with all of your social media marketing needs- from scheduling posts and creating content to tracking analytics and adjusting ad spending. Contact us for more information today!