Influencer Marketing (especially on Instagram) has proven to be an indisputably viable marketing method and is all the rage right now. However, picking the right influencer for your brand/business is a complex process explained in our article on how to find the right online brand ambassadors. One of the steps explained in that article is this:

Accidentally choosing an influencer who doesn’t have real followers (or an engaged audience) would result in a waste of your marketing budget and can potentially damage the integrity of your brand/business. Luckily, there are a couple of quick and easy ways to evaluate the engagement levels and authenticity of the followers of prospective influencers.


1) Using Your Gut Instinct

We know how ridiculous this sounds. But hear us out. There’s a shady practice that has become prevalent on Instagram where people use bots to increase their follower count. They buy a bot and program it to like and comment on photos with specific hashtags or just follow random people in the hopes that they follow back.

You don’t want an influencer that uses bots because chances are their followers aren’t real, and even if they are, are not engaged. Here are five ways to figure out if an influencer uses bots.

  • Go through their comments on other people’s posts. If they leave generic comments like “great pic!” or “Interesting optics!”, they’re a bot. Because who looks at a selfie and immediately thinks “interesting optics?”
  • If they unfollow you after you follow them back, they’re a bot. Following and unfollowing after a while is a tactic bots use to keep the account’s follower count higher than the following count.
  • If the person has thousands of followers, terrible content, a ridiculously small (or large) amount of likes, and no (or generic) comments, they’re a bot.
  • If the account follows you again after you don’t follow back, they’re a bot. Bots are programmed to follow people multiple times until they return the favour.


2) Using Auditing Tools

Here are some really effective Instagram auditing tools that can scan any account and provide statistics about the authenticity of followers and engagement levels. For when your brain just can’t even and you need to outsource all the detective work.

i) IG Audit: The interface for this is lacking in interesting features but it still gets the job done. When provided with an Instagram handle, it scans 200 of the handle’s followers (picked at random) and gives the account a percentage score out of 100, along with a number for average likes, comments, and an estimated real to fake follower ratio. It is free to use.


ii) HypeAuditor: After scanning an account, HypeAuditor issues a report containing analytics including but not limited to: follower count, account rank, engagement numbers, demographics information etc. It is available to use for any Instagram account with over 1000 followers and is not free but requires tokens that cost $2 each.

iii) FakeCheck: It analyzes Instagram accounts by collecting data regarding engagement levels. Their logic is that if an account’s ratio for likes and comments based on the followers is outside the industry standard, then that account most likely has followers that were paid for. It is not free and costs 1$ to use.


Remember, fake/unengaged followers can’t ever become real customers so to avoid wasting marketing a large chunk of your marketing budget and possibly risking your brand’s integrity, take the time to collect the appropriate data and properly evaluate potential influencers.

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