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I found you… faker: Spotting Instagram Influencer Red Flags

With celebrities like Lady Gaga and Ke$ha getting into the makeup game, there is no question that there’s money to be made in the beauty industry. Beauty influencers themselves are even getting major sponsors from big brands by just mentioning that they use certain products.

There are so many beauty influencers on Instagram, since the social media platform can be a great way for beauty gurus to get their names out there. With high follower counts, beautiful photos, and enough likes to set your phone notifications on fire, Instagram influencers are very attractive for businesses that want to hype up their products and services.

But there is an elephant in the room —fake influencers.


In fact, a study conducted by MediaKix found that the search interest for fake followers on Instagram skyrocketed by 71% in a time period between 2017 and 2018.

In fact, a study conducted by MediaKix found that the search interest for fake followers on Instagram skyrocketed by 71% in a time period between 2017 and 2018.

The study also noted that there are companies willing to take advantage of this kind of desperation. Yikes. If you just do a quick Google search, then you’ll find that there are a bunch of companies offering to boost the number of followers you have for a price.

This is only fueled by how much wannabe influencers are in search of these disingenuous services. When you use Google Keyword Planner to find the best search queries for advertising purposes, you’ll see that the searches for “fake instagram followers” get so many more clicks and impressions.

So finding Instagram influencers with real followers? The struggle is real.


FYA graphic about influencer graph

Luckily, there are some influencer red flags you can watch out for in order to help stop the fakers out there. After all, you don’t want to waste precious time, energy, and money on them. It would look bad for your clients and your brand.

First of all, you should be wary of influencers who have a sudden huge spike of followers. Usually, a genuine influencer grows their audience organically and would have a steady increase of followers over time. But if an influencer buys bots to follow their accounts, then there would be a sudden increase of followers.

However, not all sudden follower spikes are a sign of bots. Instagram users may have gotten one of their posts reposted by another account with a big following, they may have done some giveaways, or they could have landed on the trending pages, which gave them a lot of exposure.


Instagram profile on mobile device

A quick way to check if someone bought their following would be to look at the account’s number of posts and compare them to the number of followers. Something funny is going on if there are only a few posts, but a lot of followers. Another way to check for strange influxes is by using a tool like Social Blade, which lets you check the statistics of an influencer across various social media platforms, including Instagram.

You should check out an Instagram user’s quality of posts as well. Are they thought out well? Did they make the posts themselves or did they just repost and copy them from someone else? Are the captions relatable? And does the influencer sound like they know what they’re talking about as opposed to posting something really generic? These are questions you should ask yourself when scrutinizing whether an influencer is the real deal or not.

Oftentimes, a person may have over 100,000 followers, but get only one to five comments. If this happens only once in a while, it would be fine. However, if their latest 12 posts all have one to five comments while having over 100,000 followers, then that’s a red flag. Knowing this will also help you gauge if an influencer’s followers are real people who are seeing their posts.


FYA graphic with emojis

On that note, make sure to check out an influencer’s comments. If they’re just a bunch of emojis or even generic sentences that don’t make any sense within the context of posts, then the so-called followers are fake.

Find Your Audience works with businesses around the world when it comes to influencer marketing. We have tried many systems that allow you to spot fakes. Although these tips are helpful, at the end of the day, the only way to tell how well an influencer will perform is to work with them. You can utilize these tips to help filter obvious influencers with fake followers, but these will only go so far. There is nothing like the experienced human touch to understand and forecast how well an influencer will perform for your business. Thankfully, we have a team of experts to help you spot fake Instagram influencers and take your business to the next level.

Find Your Audience is always ready to team up and work with you. Give the team a call at 647-479-0688 or shoot them an email at

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