Top 5 Ways to Spot Fake Influencers on Instagram | 2019

As more brands are leveraging KOL marketing, more and more fake influencers are also sprouting on Instagram. Check this infographic to see how you can combat this fraud!


Social media influencers or KOLs can do wonders for businesses. These personalities have built a community online, and consumers follow them for their authenticity. However, not all influencers are genuine. As you know, there are tons of users buying fake followers and likes to show people that they are famous, even if they’re not.

This is hurting and destroying the concept of KOL marketing. Majority of brands are being tricked by fake influencers that are surely not going to help them acquire customers, increase sales and ROI.

Thankfully, there are several ways to combat this fraud. Check out the top 6 ways to spot fake influencers on Instagram.

  1.      Engagement Rate

Check engagement rate by manual calculation:

Add the total the engagements (likes + comments + shares) of their posts, then divide by the total number of followers and divide that by the number of posts (to get the per post average).

Additionally, you may scroll through influencer posts and check comments and names of their followers. You can probably tell that the followers and comments are fake through the ff: one word comments, spam of emojis, excessive amount of redundant comments, etc.

  1.     Unstable and Inconsistent Follower Growth

Is there a sudden spike or growth with the followers of a particular influencer? If the answer is yes, most likely that KOL just bought followers (bots). But don’t get us wrong, there are instances where an influencer get a lot of followers overnight due to a recent post that went viral, or after being featured by a brand. But again, sudden follower growth is a red flag that you should look into. Additionally, a sudden drop in follower count is also a factor that you shouldn’t ignore. It could be a sign that Instagram is cleaning out bot accounts that the KOL previously bought.

Take a look at the followers and see if they are bots. Bots are usually those with no profile pictures and no followers. It can be taxing, but it’s better than not knowing if the KOL is real or fake.

  1.     Community Engagement

Is the community engaged with the influencer? Are there comments on the pictures? If yes, this is a good indication that the KOL is real. It’s also good if the influencer is engaging in the comments section, replying with more than just a smiley face, emoji or “thanks”. It’s very easy to see if the “community” are engaged. If they’re not, chances are the KOL is fake, or the KOL hasn’t built that relationship yet with his/her followers.

  1.      Video Views

Videos are a good indicator of how authentic and active the audience is. For example: If a KOL has 100,000 followers and has only 2,000 views on a video, then that may be a sign that he/she is a fake influencer. While someone with 40,000 followers and 20,000 views on a video is wonderful! But just as with the likes, video views can also be bought now, so marketers must be meticulous.

  1.    Earned Media Value

Earned media value refers to the publicity or buzz gained through organic promotional efforts from an influencer. Real and established KOLs have a good standing in the universe of influencer marketing. Thus, they are frequently mentioned by other channels – both brand and influencer channels. Having no earned media value can be a red flag, so it’s necessary to look into this as well.



Nobody wants to work with fake influencers, so we marketers should take effort in detecting them. If the steps above are not enough, you can work with an influencer marketing platform as they have a pool of real and verified influencers you can choose from. The success of your influencer marketing journey starts with you!

Also read: Ultimate Guide to Hosting an Influencer (KOL) Marketing Event

Learn more about us by visiting ALPHACONCEPTS.CO!