Influencer Marketing: Countering the Consistent Threat of Fake Followers

it's me neosiam (pexels)

Four easy steps you can utilize to choose the right influencer for your brand and maximize ROI.

It is hard to argue with the fact that marketing and advertising are going through hard times. Headlines with crises like the YouTube “Ad-pocalypse,” crackdowns from the FTC and the foolish actions of several online celebrities.

Several studies by different organizations found that several micro-level influencers could easily buy fake followers to boost their accounts and become noticed by brands. Social media brands are changing guidelines to combat this phenomenon, but it never hurts to be cautious.

So how do marketers beat this trend to insulate their brand integrity? Here are four steps your organization should take into consideration before partnering with an influencer:

  1. Evaluate Popularity/Cultural Relevance

Influencers don’t always have to be measured by the followers on their social media accounts. Taking a deep dive into other media appearances is always beneficial. If they are known for their fashion choices, did a local blog or publication feature them in an article or photo shoot?

Most influencers do not limit themselves to one social media account. If they truly wish to build a following they will expand into other mediums like blogs, vlogging, or merchandise lines. Any other sources of contact information are also great indicators that an influencer is legitimate.

Unless a marketer is targeting a micro-demographic, they will not usually need to employ influencers with under ten-thousand followers, but still makes an exhaustive research step important in the process.

  1. Invest in Analytical Tools

In response to the “Fake Follower Scandal,” several Search Engine Optimization programs emerged to help brand combat this threat. These programs use several criteria to verify the legitimacy of an influencer’s audience.

Programs like these can save a company a lot of time and money as well as the bad press that can come from a fraudulent partnership gone awry. More importantly though is the ROI implication. Marketers should always find the best methods available to protect their investments and quantify their choices.

Examples of these Analytical Tools are FollowerCheck, Upfluence, SocialDraft, Manage Flitter and Social Audit Pro.

  1. Measure the Growth Rate

How long has the influencer had their account? How often/how much do they post? How many engagements do they receive per post? Are they ever featured on the respective sites front pages? These are all good questions for marketers to ask when vetting an influencer.

An influencer who has posted less than one-hundred posts but has tens of thousands of followers is either a social media phobic celebrity or a fake influencer. Real followings take months if not years to develop.

Tools listed above have the capability to measure the growth rate of accounts to better assist marketers in their search. And to that end, large spikes are not a good thing. Growth graphs with straight lines are an indicator of shady activity.

  1. Tally the Engagement Rates

Do comments from the influencer’s community seem cookie cutter or uninspiring? If so, then you are probably dealing with bots. Follower buying sites are not exactly known for their creative writing skills and have a big problem with copy/paste.

If on the other hand, the community responds frequently with questions, inspiring comments, or even gets into arguments it is a good indicator of a healthy follower community.

photo credit: it’s me neosiam via (pexels)

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