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How to Spot If an Influencer Has Fake Followers

With more and more brands turning to and collaborating with influencers on Instagram, being sure that you have made the right influencer choice is more important than ever – after all, these influencers tend to be the voice of your product or service!

This is why authenticity and trust are crucial, and why working with an influencer that relies on a fake follower count is not an option. But how do you spot an Instagram profile that might possibly have fake followers?

They do not have a Business profile

These days, having a Business profile on Instagram is key. A Business profile allows a brand to be in the know when it comes to their influencers' performance metrics. As a client, when your influencers have a Business profile, you can also add it to Emplifi Suite to have an in-depth understanding of their Instagram performance – something that is not possible with a regular Instagram profile. Simply put, not having a Business profile means the profile's Instagram functionality is limited – which is a big red flag.

Their followers have increased or decreased drastically

Having a look at the Followers section of Analytics can be very telling – you can spot an inconsistent increase in the number of Followers quite easily. Perhaps the Followers increased drastically, and then also decreased very fast? Or, alternatively, maybe their Follower Growth is too consistent: have they been gaining the same amount of Followers every single day? All of these elements might be signs that the profile could be dealing with fake followers.

Have you also noticed that the number of profiles they’re following is inconsistent? Are they unfollowing a large number of profiles at once? This could be yet another warning that the profile in question could have fake followers. Genuine influencer profiles, on the other hand, usually have steady growth in their follower numbers, as they don’t have to rely on a bot to drastically increase their follower growth.

The following chart displays a suspiciously steep increase of Total Followers from around August 28th to September 4th. Many users have also stopped following this account during this particular date range, which could also signal the fact that the account has fake followers.


Examining the same Instagram Influencer profile, we can see that even their Total Following had a steep decrease from September 6th to September 7th.


Page engagement does not match the follower count

Once again, having a look at how followers are interacting on an Influencer’s profile is very revealing. Even a quick overview of a specific profile can inform you whether the influencer in question might have fake followers. Does this particular influencer have tens of thousands of followers, but not many Interactions? Or perhaps the number of Interactions on their profile is consistently low, even when the profile itself keeps getting new followers. If this is the case, you might be dealing with fake followers.

The following chart shows an Instagram Influencer with over 70,000 Followers. It is unusual that the profile has many gaps in Interactions - something that should not happen to a profile with a significant Follower base.


Have you spotted an Instagram profile that might have fake followers? To find out more about fake followers, have a look at this episode of Social Media Minute.

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