Instagram is a huge social media platform for all things marketing— with over 1 billion monthly active users, it’s no surprise, as Instagram is a huge powerhouse for reaching new users that may be interested in your product, service, or creative endeavor.
In fact, many users on Instagram take advantage of the platform to discover new things that interest them, as well as engaging with businesses and making decisions about the credibility of their products and services.
Among the many types of marketing available for Instagram, one of the most favorable was Instagram influencer marketing, which means partnering with influencers that have a large following to promote your brand, products, and services.
This is a huge deal for many businesses in the sense that 89% of people who use influencer marketing claim that it has helped to boost their ROI much more effectively than on any other social media channel. What that means is that influencer marketing is a big opportunity for many businesses, but it doesn’t come without its risks.
Instagram influencers are notorious for having high follower counts, but how do you know whether or not those accounts are actually active Instagram users that will engage with content and care about the products and services they see in the influencer’s content?
One of the biggest risks is that you decide to partner with an Instagram influencer who has fortified their follower count with a bunch of purchased, fake followers, which will lead to no benefits for you or your bottom line.
When choosing the best influencer for your Instagram campaigns, choose wisely. Be very observant about the influencer’s followers and what actions are taken on their account, as well as how closely they align to your niche.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to determine the follower quality of an Instagram user, and we’re going to talk about how you can do this for your own profile, as well as for looking at other users if you’re weighing a partnership with them.
Your own follower quality matters because if you are an account with a lot of fake or low-quality followers, your performance will suffer against the Instagram algorithm due to low engagement rates, and your brand integrity will be at risk.
In this article, we’ll let you know the top 5 tips you can use to check the quality of your Instagram followers and make sure that all of the followers you have as well as your brand partners have will actually benefit your marketing endeavors.
Let’s take a look!
How to Check for Fake Instagram Followers
1. Task Ant
Task Ant is one of the top fake follower checkers out there. You’ll be able to check the follower quality and gain access to valuable data to check not only your own follower quality, but the follower quality of potential influencer partners as well.
The added benefit to Task Ant is that they have a powerful hashtag generator, which can help you to verify the hashtag strategy of your potential influencer partner. You can take a look at the common hashtags that they use, and if they match up against some of the top options generated by Task Ant, you can see that the influencer could be a great fit for you.
Not only that, you can check your own hashtag strategy and help to double your Instagram growth and discoverability through optimized hashtags on your own account. You can see which ones are connected to your niche and find ones you’ve never thought of, as well as trending hashtags. You can do this research and also suggest these hashtags to your influencer partner, helping to generate the type of results that you’re looking for from your campaign.
Task Ant has a variety of options in terms of access and price, so there’s bound to be something for everyone. Task Ant is a top trusted option when it comes to fake follower detection and hashtag strategy.
Another popular option for checking for fake Instagram followers is HypeAuditor. HypeAuditor has been around for quite a while, which means they’re got a stable reputation and can help you find the information that you need easily and quickly.
You’ll be able to check not just for Instagram fake followers, but you can also check for YouTube or TikTok as well, as fake followers are not unique only to Instagram. Plus, you can see how much of a presence your influencer has on other platforms if that’s of interest to you. We’ll talk more about why that matters later.
HypeAuditor is divided into a few different hubs, including reports hub, discovery hub, tracking hub, as well as market analysis.
While HypeAuditor is a great option and provides a lot of beneficial information, it’s one of the highest priced options out there, so it may not be a viable option for all businesses and brands looking to run some research on their potential influencer partner.
3. Look for Instagram Automation
Instagram has waged a war against Instagram automation, which means that accounts using bots and automated third party services are not a good option for influencer marketing. They could be flagged at any time and are likely to have a spammy reputation, which is not a good association for your brand.
Many people started using Instagram bots around 2017, and there were so many different companies that offered services to grow your Instagram followers using bots and automation. People really wanted more followers, and while it seemed like a good option at first, Instagram quickly realized it was hindering the platform experience, and effectively took measures against these third party services to stop them from working on the platform.
Usually when automation services are involved in follower growth, the account is not going to have real and active followers and is more likely to have fake followers, so it’s important to check for automation.
Not only that, Instagram users have caught on to the use of bots on Instagram to grow followers, and it doesn’t hold a favorable opinion. Accounts that use automation are looked at as less credible and have a lower reputation; bots effectively lower your brand or business’s integrity.
So, that being said, there are a few ways that you can determine whether or not an account uses a bot. Check these elements before partnering with another Instagram user for marketing purposes:
- Look at the follower count against the content offerings:
- Be wary of follow/unfollow:
- Check following to follower ratio:
- Check out the comments the account leaves:
- Check DM engagements:
All in all, there are some tell-tale signs that a profile uses bots in an attempt to grow their follower count, and they’re pretty easy to spot, which is why Instagram users can detect it as well. Ultimately it’s your choice on who to partner with, but accounts with bot activity are usually not healthy for your overall brand performance and business results.
4. Verify Engagement Ratios
One dead giveaway that your Instagram has a lot of fake followers is the engagement ratios on the account. If you check engagement against follower count and see that the levels are low, you know that there are likely fake followers.
For example, if an account has 45k followers, and the influencer or account is successful, you should check for an engagement ratio of between 1-3%, which means through likes and comments.
If we take likes and imagine that you’re looking for a 3% engagement ratio, which is the average among influencers, you’ll see that there are roughly 1,350 likes on a post. The better the ratio, the better the popularity of the account.
Something that happens frequently, however, is the opposite. A user may have 45k followers, and they may only have about 80 likes. This is roughly a 0.2% engagement ratio, which is abysmal. You won’t see any real results with poor engagement like this, and it is a typical indicator that many of the followers are fake.
Instagram weighs success based on engagement ratios and content engagement, so if you or your influencer partner is not gaining high engagement levels, the reach of the content is going to suffer, which means you’re less likely to see the business results you’re looking for.
If the users are not fake and there is no engagement, this is also a bad sign, as it indicates the content isn’t successful and is very poor in terms of what the account followers are looking for and interested in. Immediate action must be taken in order to fortify the account performance and get more engagement going.
Another well-known option is the fake follower checker SocialBlade. Social blade has a prominent reputation as one of the best fake follower checkers out there, so they definitely deserve a mention on this list.
The cool thing about SocialBlade is that you can access information about not only Instagram but other platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and Twitter. These are all big networks, so knowing how your potential partner (or even yourself) is weighing up across all the platforms. This is also a good indicator of whether or not a person really has social presence; if someone is truly popular on Instagram, it’s highly likely that they have some sort of following on another social media platform.
If someone has a huge number of followers on Instagram but little presence on other social media platforms, it’s probable that they have some fake followers on their Instagram.
SocialBlade is ultimately a free fake follower checker, but they do limit their engagements, and you won’t be able to save anything or track accounts over a period if you don’t have a plan. You’ll also get access to more fundamental insights as well as past data for the account, so it could be a good investment if you’re really interested in finding out about your account as well as potential Instagram partners.
Fake Followers on Instagram are detrimental to your business’s health and success. Having high numbers of fake followers on your own personal account reflects negatively on your reputation and also deters people from confiding in you and trusting your business.
You also run the risk of looking desperate and incapable when you buy a bunch of fake followers, and nobody wants to be bothered by a bunch of bot activity, which is why automation isn’t a good strategy for Instagram follower growth, either.
Since Instagram influencer marketing is one of the best and most prominent ways to generate interest in your products and services and reach more target users, you also have to be wary of who you partner with and do a thorough check of their followers to ensure you can get results from the partnership.
If you form an Instagram influencer partnership with someone who has a lot of fake followers, you aren’t going to see any business results. Remember, engagement is the key to driving business results, so you want to partner with influencers that can deliver on this.
These days, it’s more popular for businesses and brands to look for influencers that have less follower numbers and higher engagement rate; a favorable engagement rate on average is 1-3%, but if you can find someone in your niche that has rates of 4%-7%+, that will be a very beneficial partnership for you.
Also, take a look at content quality and ways that they share content on Instagram. You definitely want to form a partnership with someone who knows how to make unique Instagram content and can feature your brand in favorable ways that help to grow and fortify your reputation.
Using the tips on this list as well as an Instagram follower checker such as Task Ant, you can help to ensure that your marketing efforts and Instagram growth efforts were not all in vain.