A Guide to the Fake Followers Industry and Instagram Bots

Domenic Smith
Domenic Smith
DTC brands independent consultant

It’s a known fact that if you’re a content creator, having a high number of followers can help you land bigger opportunities like brand collaborations.

However, something to keep in mind is that having large numbers of fake followers and bots can actually hurt your reputation and your chances of becoming a successful influencer.

This article is all about fake followers, the stats used to determine the authenticity of followers and what can happen to creators who get fake followers.

What Fake Followers Are and 3 Reasons Why You Don’t Want Them

Fake followers are exactly what they sound like. They’re social media accounts that aren’t run by humans. They’re also known as “bots.”

Everyone on social media probably has a few bots following them, but some people (notably content creators) will actually pay to have large numbers of bots follow them.

Here are a few reasons why having a large number of fake followers is a bad idea.

1. It’s Unethical

First of all, having fake followers is unethical. It’s a ruse. Fans and clients alike want to find content creators that they can trust.

It’s wrong to try to deceive people into thinking you’ve amassed a huge following when in fact all you’ve done is used a sketchy website to buy fake followers.

2. You’ll Lose Credibility

The major consequence of deceiving people into thinking you have tons of followers is that you’ll lose credibility with your fans, peers and potential clients. People may even block you when they find out you have fake followers.

3. They Don’t Bring Results

Using fraudulent followers are unethical, make you lose credibility and they don’t even bring results!

Sure, your profile will have a high follower count and your post interactions may appear to be high, but it won’t lead to any genuine social connection or conversions.

7 Ways To Measure Follower Authenticity

A lot of people use fake followers, but fortunately, there are a lot of ways that profiles with fraudulent followers can get detected.

There are platforms for this, but a lot of it comes down to common sense. Here are some ways to spot bot followers and accounts that have them...

1. Low Engagement Rates

Remember earlier when we said that if you have fake followers “your post interactions may appear to be high.” We said “may” for a reason.

A lot of the time, fake followers don’t even interact with posts. Someone may have thousands of fake followers but their number of likes, comments and shares won’t reflect it.

2. Generic Comments

When bots do leave comments, they’re often very generic and plain. For example, words, phrases and emojis that could work well on any type of post can be an indication of a bot comment.

Let’s say an influencer posts a photo from their wedding. If most of the comments say things like “Wow! Great photo!” instead of more specific things like “Congrats! I can’t believe you tied the knot!” that may be a sign of fake followers.

3. Generic Profiles

Bots often have very generic-looking profiles. Their profile photo may be a stock photo or they may not have a photo at all. Their bios are often empty or have words that don’t form a proper sentence. Bios are often copied and pasted amongst bot accounts too.

4. Generic Posts

It’s no surprise that bot accounts often post very generic things if they post at all. Fraudulent accounts may post stock images or written quotes and they may even repost the same thing several times.

The captions will probably be bland and not specific to the post.

5. Sudden Increase in Followers

It’s definitely normal for profiles to gain and lose followers on a regular basis. However, when someone’s number of followers really shoots up overnight, it can be a sign that they’ve purchased fake followers.

6. Location of Followers

Influencers definitely become known around the world once they gain a certain level of popularity, but sometimes location can be an indicator of someone using fake followers.

For example, if an influencer seems to have tons of followers from a particular country that they don’t have any connection to, it can be a sign that their “audience” is largely fraudulent.

7. Followback Hashtags

If you’ve ever seen someone use hashtags like #followback, #teamfollowback, etc., it’s usually a sign that they’re attracting bots and other followers who won’t be engaging with their posts much. Accounts that look for hashtags of that nature are often bots that follow as many accounts as possible to try and promote spam links.

The Benefit of Staying Authentic

Now that you know all about fake followers and how to spot them, be wary of accounts that use them!

While your number of followers and your engagement rates can help you appeal to brands looking for collaborators, it’ll only work in your favor if your audience is legit. Plus, some brands simply want to work with creators who are genuine, even if they don’t have tons of followers.

Here at Insense, we believe that quality content creation, creativity, perseverance and community can make even small content creators get great brand collaboration opportunities. If you’re a content creator looking for brand collaborations, give us a try when you’re ready.

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