3 Signs of Fake Influencers

3 Signs of Fake Influencers

Influencer marketing is the real deal, and trends don't lie – it's going to stay relevant in years

Influencer marketing is the real deal, and trends don’t lie – it’s going to stay relevant in years to come. Reasons are obvious, as social networks allow people to stay updated and even reach out to their favorite influencers.

Followers trust influencers, and the term describes why – a “follower” is more than just a fan. Influencers’ opinions matter, and so do their endorsements. Your brand can win so much if you partner with a genuine influencer with a trusted fanbase when they start promoting your products and services.

While you can use Instagram influencer marketing tools to find influencers, one big question arises – how can you tell if you are reaching out to a fake influencer? This article will give you 3 signs of a fake influencer, explaining how not to get tricked.

Remember, this isn’t only about the wasted endorsement money. If a fake influencer promotes your brand, that can backfire, causing you more harm than good. You will lose trust among potential customers, putting your brand reputation in jeopardy. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

Sign #1: Many Followers, Low Activity

Fake influencers usually only buy Instagram followers. That’s because following is a one-time purchase, as bots and fake accounts only need to do the action once. On the other hand, liking and commenting should happen more frequently, especially on new posts.

If you want to spot fake followers, you should go through posts and look for the follower-like-comment ratio. If someone has hundreds of thousands of followers but doesn’t get a few thousand likes per post, something is not right. The same goes if likes are equally distributed across all posts, no matter what is on them. If bots are doing all the liking, they will spread it out evenly, which is something you rarely see from real followers.

The same goes for comments. If you see thousands of likes but a few comments, something is wrong. Comments are also easy to analyze, as you can see the commenter’s profile and read what the comment says. “Nice,” “Wow,” comments only with emoticons, and a sea of comments with no replies, are all telltale signs of bots.

In short – if it looks fake, then it probably is, especially if it shows up across several posts.

Sign #2: No Expertise

As a company owner, you know in detail what you sell and who you are selling it to – your target audience. Knowing your products and services and audience should also mean that you understand competition too, and with it, the state of the industry and your niche. Use that knowledge and awareness to spot fake influencers.

While fake influencers can buy numbers and clicks, they can’t fake expertise. Don’t just look at the pictures, read the advice they share on their posts. Fake influencers usually add generic and irrelevant sentences in their posts and with pictures, if they add any at all. Or, they share fake polls that add no value, just trying to force clicks. Not to mention those dreadful “like for like” tactics.

In other words, if a person gathered tens of thousands of followers without having anything interesting to say or share, and they never demonstrate any expertise, their profile is probably inflated.

Sign #3: Suspicious (Or No) Partnerships

Scroll through the influencer’s profile, and try to find any previous partnerships or endorsement campaigns they had. Analyze the brand they promoted, and see what you can find about it. If the brands they worked with previously seem suspicious, and you can’t find many other influencers who you know to be real promoting the same brand, then it’s probably fake.

Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to the influencer and ask for references, telling them you want to learn more about previous engagements. Ask them about the success of their last campaign and that you want to see some stats. A real influencer will be glad to show you the results of their campaigns, and asking for those is entirely normal.

After all, being an influencer is a lucrative business, and as a real business person, they should have the stats and numbers to back up their profiles.

How To Spot A Fake Influencer With Ease

While poor follower-to-engagement ratio, low industry expertise, and suspicious partnerships are clear signs of fake influencers, they still require you to do research before making a decision. After all, even real influencers get emoji-only comments and can promote brands that are not that relevant. Especially considering that micro and nano influencers are usually the primary focus of small businesses.

So, is there an easy way to spot a fake influencer? Instagram influencer search tools can help.

With an adequate tool, you will be able to find good social media influencers and analyze their channels in just a few clicks. You will run the profile through the database, and it will get an automatic rating, telling you how well that influencer matches your search criteria.

Better tools also tell you more information about the follower base, which will help determine if the influencer is the right fit for your brand.

Most importantly, Instagram search tools will also tell you how likely the account you are viewing is fake. Any inflated numbers and suspicious comments won’t go unnoticed, and you will get all that in your report.


Troll identification through Mentionlytics SIA (Social Intelligence Advisor).

Bottom Line

While Instagram influencer search tools are powerful and convenient, you should still check the results manually too and apply our 3 signs of fake influencers. That combination will ensure you have found a genuine influencer you can partner with, not just a scammer who bought followers.

You can expect to see results soon after parenting up with someone with a solid follower base. When new customers start showing up, you will know that all that influencer research wasn’t a waste of time.


About Andrii

Andrii is the CMO at trendHERO with 9+ years of experience in digital marketing. He started out as an email marketing manager, moving on to copywriting - and for the last three years has been focused on analytics and influencer discovery.

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