8 ways to spot a fake influencer on Instagram


Reason for this post: Just 1. Authentic bloggers are shun away.

This is not for me. It’s for all of us – PR’s, brands, the bloggers/influencers, the public and ESPECIALLY for the people who do this full-time. It’s their bread and butter. Try putting yourself in the place of influencers who slog their a#’s off day n night and… overnight an “influencer” pops up outa nowhere with a higher follow count + engagement rate.

Also, fake influencers are detrimental to marketing campaigns! They charge $1000’s/post for nothing..

Note: All the information below is backed up by sources and isn’t “invented” by me. This article is created and brainstormed with the help of several bloggers. Additionally, exceptions are always there.

Let’s get one thing straight, shall we?… What IS an influencer?

☑ Can make “a group” of people (50+) take a specific action, which takes more than a small amount of effort, at the click of your fingers.

☑ Has had significant success in their field of work (in a company, personal brand, helping other businesses) and “a group” of people respect their advice and will consistently take action, at the click of their fingers, based on their advice/ recommendations.

An “influencer” is not a person who has 500 followers or even 1000. Not even 10,000. Maybe, even I’m not an influencer! Let the PR’s decide. Do you really see yourself influencing a person to buy a product when you yourself state every cream or foundation you get for free is good? Is that cake really that good like 100 other cakes you’ve had? (We need to mend how we promote a product)

Additionally, big publications are allowing contributors to write ‘Top 10 [insert topic]Influencers’  lists which are not backed by data and are merely the opinions of the contributors. Not only that, I’m sure a lot of these contributors are simply giving out favors to get in these ‘Influencers’ good books.

Number 1 – Assess the follower count

Social Blade should be your influencer bible. You can catch a fake “influencer” within a few seconds!

On an average, a blogger/influencer gets anywhere between 0-200 followers/day depending on their popularity. Lets put this into perspective – Forever21 has 13m followers and gets ~1000 followers/day, HudaBeauty has 19m followers and gets ~5000 followers/day, MuradOsmann has 4.6m followers and gets ~400 followers/day, SazanHendrix has 765k followers and gets ~500 followers/day.

Pictures below show the stats/graph of bloggers who have ~60k+ followers. Is it really possible for this blogger to get ~2k followers a day? It is only possible if you’ve been #reposted by a celeb! If the tallied picture on the right is not convincing, look at the 2 graphs below of 2 different bloggers. See the jump in the number of followers! It’s supposed to be a smooth increasing graph!

Note: Social Blade unfortunately only shows the tally for a month. Scroll down and view the graph of 3 months ?

Number 2 – Engagement Groups

Don’t believe the 100+ comments you see on EVERY.SINGLE.PICTURE in an ‘Influencers’ page. In order to play with the algorithm, almost all bloggers *worldwide* are in “Engagement Groups” (google it). It’s a tit for tat kinda thing, you comment on my picture and I comment on yours. However, we need to be in these groups as it’s getting tough to beat Instagrams algorithm! Click here to read about that. We can’t have 0-2 comments on our pictures, right?! We need to pop up on feeds.

Where are these groups? Everywhere. Instagram (max of 15 people in a group), Telegram or WhatsApp (1000+ people – the worst), Facebook, anywhere!

It is okay to be in 3-4 groups or engage with around ~30 people if you upload 3+ images/day (that gets split to around ~10 comments per pic). BUT, I know bloggers who “engage” with 100+ people on Telegram or are on 7+ Instagram groups!!! #wtf ???

If you have 90k+ followers, 100+ comments and 4000+ likes on EVERY picture; your engagement % = +5%!!! Congratulations, you have an engagement rate higher than Barack Obama ? A good engagement rate is always between 1.5-3%. Having engagement of only 1% is okay. Click here to learn how to calculate and here to see other celebs engagement rates (all less than 3% ish).

I used a software to illustrate how the comments of 2 bloggers suddenly increased out of nowhere….

Good Example

Bad Example

This does not mean that influencers who have very few comments are fake. A follower can’t comment on every single picture!! This eventually makes us, real influencers feel threatened and, the ones who get weak, resort to buying engagement!

I have images that have received a mere 20 comments but over 20k impressions.

Number 3 – Number of likes to follow ratio

As explained in my article, realistically, 2-3% is a really good amount of likes to get from your total number of followers, but it’s more typical to get between 1-2%. I have seen bloggers with ~1000 likes and 10k followers = 10% likes. Seriously? They’re more famous than a celebrity…

Number 4 – Number of posts to follow ratio

You have 150 posts and 30k+ followers or 1000 posts and over 100k followers. How?

Caveat – They may have just deleted their older pictures

Number 5 – Stalk their followers/people who liked their pictures

If (consecutively) their follower’s pages look like this. You know it’s bought.

Additionally, personally, I don’t believe what comes out of the site www.followercheck.co (a site that used to exist), there is no substantial evidence it’s true. Due to our hashtags, several bots follow me too via other people bots (such as Instagress, etc) and the people I am convinced are fake influencers, the site shows they have bought only a few 1000’s followers. Social Blade says otherwise ?

Number 6 – Stalk them *outside* the social media platform

I don’t mean hiding behind their car or outside their office ? Research on which magazines have posted about them? Have they written articles for magazines? What brands have interviewed them? What brands have they collaborated with? Was the result, “quality” content or just “quantity”?

Number 7 – Ask for their stats (impressions, reach, etc)

If you’re a brand that wants to collaborate with a blogger. Ensure you ask for the stats.

Number 8 – Beware photoshopped stats!!

Right after I published this article, a so-called “influencer” flaunted his insights on his story. You either dig in deep to figure how it’s rigged or else….. #doomed

Below are the 4 reasons why I feel it’s fake. I even did an analysis via Social Blade. See the graph and the number of followers received per week. ALSO, the words “Top Posts”, “Stories”, etc should be in CAPS.

Additionally, impressions don’t matter anymore… here’s why


[1], [2], [3], [4]

This blog post was inspired by an article written (and now deleted) by EatLiveTravelDrink.

Discussion3 Comments

  1. This is almost identical to the #INSTAGATE article written by eatlivetraveldrink from the beginning of April. At least give her credit

  2. Pingback: The Fantasies Created by Photoshop – An Unknown Opinion – UnknownMartin's Blog

Leave A Reply