With the rapid growth of influencer marketing, an increased number of brands, businesses, and marketers are willing to include it on their priorities list.
This incredible growth has encouraged many to expand their following count to stand out as authentic influencers.
However, the obsession over the number of followers has made it harder to tell what’s organic and what’s not.
As a result, some have resorted to buying fraudulent followers, which has caused social media platforms to become filled with inauthentic accounts and fake engagement rates.
For this reason, it’s more crucial than ever to perform an audit before signing any serious agreement with an influencer.
So keep scrolling to find out how it’s done.
Why You Need to Run an Influencer Audit
One way to make sure an influencer’s social media account is legit is by carrying out an audit.
Fake followers are a significant problem for the influencer marketing world, causing brands, businesses, and marketers to waste resources and effort.
This industry is built on legitimacy and trust; those account owners attempting to buy followers seriously damage these foundational principles.
In 2019, Sunday Times wrote in a report that “Instagram fraudsters are duping brands out of more than $200m a year […].”
This single report on itself is perfect enough to underscore the importance of performing an influencer audit.
You don’t want to waste money and effort when looking to partner with an influencer.
Therefore, you need to make sure an influencer’s followers and engagement rates are genuine before any agreement.
How to tell if an Influencer has Fake Followers
It could be challenging for most of us to notice the difference between squeaky clean social media accounts and fake ones.
Obtaining organic growth on social media takes time and is painstaking.
And that’s the exact reason fraud starts.
Some impatient influencers attempt to buy fake followers and buying metrics, in general, to convince brands to work with them.
HypeAuditor’s research shows that in 2019, around 51% of Instagram Nano influencers have the highest percentage of fraud-free accounts.
This means that approximately 49% of Nano influencers have inauthentic followers.
That’s a significant number for profiles having the following count under 5k!
There are some factors used to differentiate between fraud-free and fraudulent influencers.
Signs of Influencer Fraud
- Of all the signs that can help you detect influencer fraud, engagement rates are the most important. Fraudulent influencers usually have low engagement rates when compared to their following count. For example, imagine an influencer account with 2k followers. Suppose this account’s posts are receiving 20 likes per post on average. In that case, it means this account has a 0.01% likes to followers ratio. The percentage indicates that the majority of those followers are fake.
- You can also try checking an account’s followers one by one. Fake followers’ account names usually include so many numbers. For example, if you see a profile name that goes “jamie254467”, chances are that a real person does not own it. But going through an account’s following will consume a large portion of your time, especially if we’re talking accounts with +1k following count. Therefore we recommend keeping an eye on engagement rates as the best metric to assess a profile’s authenticity.
- Furthermore, you can use paid tools like HypeAuditor for evaluating an influencer’s audience quality. Their services help you to somehow identify genuine and fake users by allowing you to analyze an account’s followers closely. Also, you get to see a flowchart of an account’s followers, which you can use to detect any sudden, unusual spike in the following count. These spikes may also signal influencer fraud.
How to Perform an Instagram Influencer Audit
The process we discussed earlier remains the same for most social media platforms, Instagram included.
You can repeat the whole process for conducting an Instagram influencer audit as well.
However, we still believe paying close attention to engagement rates is by far the best method of evaluating an account’s authenticity.
There’s a debate among professionals on the correct way to measure the engagement rate.
But to calculate it easily, we’ll introduce a widely accepted formula further in this blog post.
First, let’s talk a bit about what engagement rate is.
How to Calculate Instagram Engagement Rate
Engagement rate (also referred to as ER) is an essential indicator of an influencer’s authenticity.
Instagram engagement rate is a number (typically a percentage) indicating how users interact with the content on a profile.
In general, factors such as likes, comments, shares, and impressions (view count) are considered for measuring it.
How to Calculate Instagram ER for Influencers
Despite the usual debate on the correct way for calculating it, the formula below is usually used to determine an influencer’s engagement rate:
Likes, comments, and followers are essential to take into account for an influencer because they are usually recruited based on these factors.
What is the best Instagram ER?
Unfortunately, no fixed engagement rate applies to all accounts.
The rate varies from one industry to another.
However, Rival IQ’s report suggests that the median engagement rate across all industries is close to 1%.
So we can agree that a 1% engagement rate is a positive sign.
A Free Instagram Auditor Tool for You
There are many online services like the one we introduced from HypeAuditor that you can use to perform an influencer audit.
But you have to pay to gain access to them.
Here at Ainfluencer, we’ve designed a platform where you can search for influencers and view their accounts’ insights.
Through using our tools, you can see four key factors crucial for identifying an authentic influencer:
- Average likes per post
- Average comments per post
- Likes to followers ratio
- Comments to followers ratio
What’s even better is that we’ve already calculated every influencer’s engagement rate on our platform.
This eliminates the need to do the math yourself.
Sign-up is completely FREE, and we don’t ask for any initial payment from anyone to use our services.
So why don’t you get started and create your account for free?
It’s crucial for anyone thinking of working with influencers to have their accounts checked to make sure they’re authentic.
You don’t want to waste your money and effort on collaboration with an influencer who has a large fake following count.
Keep in mind that it’s impossible and unrealistic to expect an influencer to have 100%, real followers.
To some extent, every social media is susceptible to having fake followers.
The best way to know you’re not going to be a fraud victim, in this case, is to make sure the majority of an influencer’s audience is authentic.
Feel free to leave a comment for us below and let us know about your experience of working with influencers.