Instagram launched in 2010 and has soared in growth and popularity since its inception! Now influencers are more popular than ever on the social media platform, and many brands want to engage in influencer marketing campaigns. However, one issue we continually see here at Sylo is inorganic follower growth and engagement acquisition on Instagram. Fake accounts are computer-based or bot accounts, which means no human is behind the likes and comments these accounts leave.
Every Instagram account has some low level of fake accounts following them and engaging with their content. However, when an influencer purchases these followers, it pollutes the data, making it impossible to separate the real humans from the fake bots. Unfortunately, many brands view followers and engagement rate as the most crucial metrics, so there is a lot of motivation to inflate the numbers to show a big following that is highly engaged and significant growth. Furthermore, there isn’t much repercussion, and it’s not expensive to buy fake accounts.
Brands and companies are paying influencers to get real humans to learn about their products and buy from them. So, if an influencer uses fake followers, then a brand or company will see zero return on investment! That’s why we’ve developed Sylo Certified, which can tell if an influencer has currently or in the past purchased followers! Of course, fake followers on your Instagram account really matter long term! Here are more reasons why:
Fake Followers Cloud True Reach
Reach is how many people see an Influencers post on Instagram. For example, if you post a photo and 100 people see it, then your reach for that post is 100. However, as a brand or company looking to partner with an influencer, you need to understand that follower count alone is not helpful in making influencer hiring decisions. It’s better to have 1000 real people who genuinely like, follow, and interact with an influencer’s account than having 10,000 people who aren’t in your target audience and will never engage or buy your product. Plus, a higher follower count doesn’t even necessarily mean more reach!
Unfortunately, Instagram can’t always tell which accounts are fake, so they include these accounts in the number of people reached. If you’re looking to pay an influencer to market your products, then fake followers will cloud true reach. As an influencer, it’s also a bad idea to buy fake accounts because a brand will quickly realize they don’t see a return on investment, and it will hurt your reputation.
Fake Followers Hurt Engagement Rates
Did you know bot accounts can actually engage with content? Bots can like and comment on posts, just like real people. But unlike real people, bots will never purchase your product or service! If an influencer decides to buy fake followers, then authentic engagement rates go straight down. One way to tell if an engagement rate is false is to look for likes-to-follower or likes-to-comment ratios. If these ratios are too high, it can be a sign that an influencer is buying likes and comments, and the engagement rate is false.
Fake Followers Spam Your Fans
Not only do fake followers on your Instagram account hurt your reputation and make it impossible to secure high-paying brand deals, but they also ruin things for your real followers. Fake bot accounts can spam your real followers and even harm them! For example, data security company Imperva conducted a bot report, and found that 28.9% of bots can crack passwords or carry viruses! Yikes!
Fake Followers Will Get Your Account Shut Down
In 2018, Instagram started cracking down on fake followers. They began removing inauthentic likes, followers, and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity. If you’re caught using fake followers, Instagram can shadowban your account, which means the platform will partially block your content, so only users who follow you can see it. This will really hurt your real follower count and make it difficult to reach new people.
You also run the risk of having your account banned entirely. If Instagram bans your account, they will permanently block your username, so you can’t recreate that account! Imagine spending time building a brand only to get that account shut down forever and never being able to use the name again? It’s not worth it! Plus, in the most severe cases, Instagram can even restrict your IP address from accessing Instagram all together.
Use Sylo to Vet Out Influencers with Inorganic Followers
Whether you’re an influencer looking to secure higher-paying deals or a brand who wants to make sure they partner with the most authentic influencer, Sylo is for you! Purchased activity on influencer accounts is well hidden and often takes place over short periods. Today’s tools are ineffective at protecting from the sophisticated forms of influencer fraud that are taking place. Sylo uses high-frequency, always-on data collection and advanced analytical methods to identify the multiple types of fraud in the market today. Sylo can detect bot activity that other solutions on the market can’t! So book your demo today and start using Sylo, the premier solution to maximize your ROI and reduce the risk of influencer fraud!