The Rise of Influencer Swindlers: How to Protect from Business from Influencer Fraud

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If you are keen to try out, say, a new “miracle” cream that is touted to give you back 20 years of youth, or a phone that is set to unseat the iPhone, what would it take for you to make that purchase? If you’re like most people, you’d probably consult this generation’s experts: INFLUENCERS.


In this digital era, online reviews are one of the biggest sources of information. Whether from TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, you can bet that influencers have a chokehold on consumers and their behaviors. What an influencer says or does, can spell success or disaster for a product or company.


So, it shouldn’t come as a shock if more and more companies in Ireland are utilizing the power of influencer marketing to boost brand awareness and trust. But as with most things, this trend has its pros and cons.



Influencer vs Fake-fluencer


You should have a clear definition of what an influencer is. This will help you differentiate between the two and have better chances of landing a good influencer deal.


An influencer is someone who has a substantial number of active engagements (views, follows, comments, etc.)  on social media. They have a sizeable following of loyal fans that see them as trustworthy and influential. They have the ability to influence perception and make things go “viral”. All these can directly impact the buying decisions of their loyal followers.


This “power” is what makes influencers so effective in Ireland, and all around the world. Influencer marketing focuses on extending target reach via social media personalities. They aim to sway consumer behavior toward a more positive reception of the services or products they offer.



Fake influencers, on the other hand, are social media users who, on the surface, appear and behave like the real ones. The difference lies in their followers. Fake influencers rely on fake accounts and bots to appear credible. Simply put, they have no real impact on an actual audience.



Influencer Marketing is a Lucrative Business


Influencer Marketing is redefining advertisement and product promotion in Ireland, and anywhere else in the world that has access to the world wide web.


TV and print media are in a steady decline and influencer marketing is taking over. Influencers with massive followings can help brands reach a broader audience. And it’s definitely working. This campaign strategy is raking in revenue of €1 Billion and it’s steadily on the rise.

With the right influencer, your business can get the traction to exponentially increase reach and revenue.



Gold Mine or Sinkhole?


While it is undeniable that influencer marketing is effective, it also has its downsides. Because it is so popular, unscrupulous individuals are also wanting to get their hands on big money, even if that means committing fraud.


Influencer fraud can harm your brand’s financials. Fake influencers will bleed you dry without ever producing significant results. To add to that, the wasted time and effort that could have been invested into other aspects of the business.


Influencer fraud can also put your brand’s reputation at stake. If people find out that you worked with fraud, they may lose confidence in your products and services. Remember, credibility is something that you can’t just buy.




Spot the Fake


When looking into teaming up with an influencer, be wary of the obvious red flags: stock photos, dummy account followers, poorly-done photo editing, and the likes.



Here are more detailed tips to separate authentic influencers from the duds.


1. Take a look at the follower-to-engagement ratio



The average engagement of likes to comments for an influencer is around two percent. It may be closer to 3.5% on Instagram. Since bots and fake accounts make up a majority of a fraudulent influencer’s follower base, they generally have a very low engagement rate considering despite the large follower count. They may have bought thousands of fake followers, but these fake followers aren’t going to engage with their content.


And take note, an influencer with a massive following but unusually low engagement may be faking the numbers. Lastly, if you find a fake influencer on Instagram, it’s most likely fake on other platforms, too.


2. Consider engagement quality


That’s why an audience quality analysis is another important step to spot fake influencers.


The quality of an influencer’s audience speaks volumes about how genuine their influence is over their audience. So, it’s vital to conduct audience quality analysis to avoid influencer fraud.


3. Look into audience quality


Pods are another way to “boost” engagement. These are a bunch of Instagram users who agree to “like” each other’s posts. They are like a support group for likes. But because there is little organic growth in these pods, one lost member can significantly skew the numbers. They artificially inflate likes and comments without producing much revenue.


And because accounts with pods look genuine, a number of brands fall into this trap. However, those that collaborate with pods end up with very poor promotional posts that have a good amount of engagement but end up with little to zero conversions.


4: Avoid those with sudden spikes in follower count


Be wary of influencers that have a sudden increase in followers. This may indicate unusual activities on the account. Don’t be fooled by massive numbers. Verify. There are a number of tools online that can help you authenticate social media accounts.


If you are having doubts, you can chat us up to guide you along the way. Our decades worth of expertise is sure to come in handy to give your brand a boost.


Better yet, check out our website for our other services.  Similar to SEO software that tracks blogs, pages, and links over time, we can offer a variety of services to you.


To find out the best marketing strategy for your brand, click on that yellow chat icon and explore your options with us. Ireland’s premier digital agency is always one click away.




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