How to Identify Instagram Fakefluencers

Last month I posted about Instagram Fakefluencers and it has triggered some interesting conversations about the whole concept of Influencer Marketing when I shared it on LinkedIn.

Just to clarify, my criticism in that post was solely about these self-labeled 'influencers' on Instagram platform particularly, but not about the validity of the concept of influencer marketing. Influencer Marketing is a legit marketing tactic for any brand, if done properly.

Just as a note, please be cautious if someone self-introduce themselves as an "influencer" on social media. There's no standard yardstick to qualify or fail people as "influencers". Everyone is and can be an influencer on social media at different points. That's why each Influencer Marketing campaign requires a different approach and a different selection of 'influencers' every time.

If someone self-proclaim to be an 'influencer', that's just another gimmick to misguide non-suspecting brand owners.

In another future post in this series of posts about Social Media Fakefluencers, I will talk about some scientific facts about influencing human behavior. But for now, let’s focus on few key attributes you can look for when identifying a fakefluencer. If you can spot them early, you can save yourself from falling into their trap.

The first thing is clear; we have a large number of fakefluencers in almost every part of the world. But, even more important thing is to find a way to identify them. They are fake, but at the same time, they are smart. They know how to represent themselves as “one-of-a-kind” people with influence.

1. Check Their Content

This is definitely the first thing you need to do. I consider it is the most important on our “how-to” list.

Before everything, look in details what type of content the so-called influencer is sharing. Does it have any value? Is it original or you have already seen it in many places?

Majority of profiles on Instagram you can describe with only 2 words – Copy & Paste. They saw that REAL influencers published something that became viral. In that way, they want to attract people’s attention.

That is the first proof that they don’t have any kind of influence. Without checking any parameter you can spot a fakeflunecer.

2. Video Views

Another parameter that can indicate who is fake and who is real is – video views. This one can be more relevant for YouTube influencers. Let’s imagine that someone has 300k followers. He or she publishes a video, and after 24 hours, it has only 5k views. That tells a story about the follower count, isn’t it?

When a TRUE influencer publishes a video, he has more views for each video than followers. Even people that are not following them come to check the video content. I know about profiles that have 60k followers and about 200k views on average on their videos. Because their content is great!

So, if you see something like that, you have one good reason to get out of that profile.


Have you ever heard about engagement groups? It represents a group of fakefluencers connected through WhatsApp, Facebook or any other channel. Their idea is that the whole group comment on each post of each member. This is how they raise the engagement rate.

You will be able to see almost the same profiles commenting every post of the fakefluencer. In most cases, they do that with two or three emojis. They are not even capable to comment a post in a proper way. Don’t think the comment thread below a post is the only indication of engagement. That’s the place Fakefluencers can easily doctor with a secret whatsapp group. Sometimes, real conversations about the influencer’s content happen on other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and maybe even on WhatsApp. If it’s a blogger or a YouTuber you are evaluating, you can use a tool like ShareCount to gauge engagement for their posts.


Okay, I will have to analyze a bit more details about this part. If a profile has 300k followers and 300 likes on a post, his like-follower ratio is definitely bad. More importantly, it means he is not capable to inspire his audience in some way.

But, the good like-follower ratio doesn’t necessarily mean the influencer is good. It is quite cheap to buy fake likes as well. I think you can buy 1000 likes for less than a dollar.

In case you use some of the tools to check like-follower ratio, they won’t show you the number of fake likes. That is why you need to check that on your own hand.

If most of the likes are profiles without a profile picture, you discovered a scam. Investigate more and see how many followers and posts those profiles have.

5. Number of followers

When you are trying to find an influencer, a number of followers is not the most important thing. Sometimes, profiles with 1,000 followers can have a bigger influence than profiles with 100k followers.

However, fakefluencers are mostly buying followers. Even 10k followers are affordable for everyone. When you see that a profile gets 500+ followers on Instagram per day, there are 99% chances that the majority of them are fake.

Recognizing the fake followers is the same as fake likes. Check who is actually following those profile. If a large number of them doesn’t even have a profile picture…think twice.

6. Other Social Media Accounts

Without any excuse, every true Instagram influencer has strong profiles on other social media platforms. These things are not difficult to check. Just go to Facebook or Twitter and see if those profiles have the accounts there. Because, influence is a “human” thing and it doesn’t depend on the platform. If you are a great travel content creator, your content should work on Facebook and YouTube as well, not only on Instagram. If you are only having a massive followership and engagement on Instagram but not on any other platform, that means there’s something suspicious.

More importantly, check all the parameters we talked about on each social media. They will have many likes and comments everywhere.

Useful Tools for Measuring the Success

I am happy to see that there are programmers that understand this problem. Many of them made valuable apps that can measure the success of any Instagram profile.

Some of the tools/apps you can use to check the engagement rate are NapoleonCat, Instagram Engagement Calculator, SocialBlade and Phlanx. You can find them on both, Play Store and Apple App Store.

Still, don’t think that fakefluencers don’t know about them. That’s why many of them don’t have a public profile. You can only see their engagement rate if you follow them.

Because of that, I provided you with the tips that will help you to check them without any tool.

So, would you be capable to recognize a fakefluencer now? Do you have any other methods to suggest for identifying them? I would like to hear you J


Blogger love to Naomi DsouzaHere’s another great read about identifying fakefluencers

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