How to Check Fake Instagram Influencers? 8 Tricks!

spot fake Instagram influencers

Aren’t you tired of fake Instagram influencers? I sure am.

I have seen my colleague’s Instagram profile jump from less than 1k to more than 15K within a month. And, suddenly all her pictures started receiving crazy likes. I really wanted to know what happened.

I asked her if she landed some big contract or a dream job or something. Guess what, no reply.

Was she traveling? Not really.

Any of her picture gone viral? Nope.

I even Googled her name. Zero information there.

My best guess is that she’s buying followers and likes.

For one, I know it’s not easy to grow any Instagram profile that quick unless you are a celebrity or have an extraordinary Instagram profile.

And, with growing Instagram unfollowers, it’s difficult to rapidly grow Instagram accounts without following anyone.

With my extreme interest in influencer marketing, I also came across this valuable information:

Influencer marketing has reached an annual spend of $1billion by advertisers in 2017.

Whaaatt? Yes! $1 BILLION.

And the advertisers don’t even know if they are investing their money on real influencers or not.

Yesterday, Unilever declared that they are not going to work with influencers with fake followers.

There’s no limit to what’s been offered to Instagram influencers without any detailed verification. The funniest I came across is this:

spot fake Instagram influencers

If fake influencers frustrate you too, here are my proven and simple ways to find the reality of any Instagram influencer:

  1. Check if their account is Instagram verified.

A verified Instagram account is the simplest test to know the authenticity of your Instagram influencer. However, be warned that not being verified by Instagram does not mean an influencer is a fake.

A verified mark is given by Instagram to brands and celebrities to make sure people know the difference between original and impersonated accounts. The verified status is taken away from accounts that do not adhere to Instagram compliance policies. So, if your influencer is Instagram verified, you can be certain of their followings and authenticity.

How to know if the influencer is Instagram verified?

The blue tick next to their Instagram profile name confirms that the profile is Instagram verified.

spot fake Instagram influencers

It’s difficult to get a verified mark from Instagram, so an influencer can be genuine and not be verified.

But, if they are verified, you can be sure they are reliable.

  1. Evaluate their like percentage and comments.

This is an absolutely necessary step before you pay even a dollar to any influencer.

A lot of brands make this mistake of just going with the follower count when they collaborate with an influencer. You need to analyze their engagement to follower ratio to understand the real story.

How do you know if an influencer’s follower count is genuine?

This chart from Markerly gives an estimate of likes and comments ratio to the follower count based on the number of followers.

spot fake Instagram influencers

So, if an Instagram influencer has 1k-10k followers, you would expect their engagement rate to be around 4.04%.

Now, let’s look at two Instagram profiles and see if the chart helps:

spot fake Instagram influencers

This profile has 6000 followers and the average likes per post is between 15-50. This is their engagement percentage for the post highlighted: (40/6020)*100 = 0.66%

The engagement percentage is less than the profiles with highest follower numbers. And, it’s same for her other posts as well. So, that’s a clear cue to you that it’s fake followers.

What genuine followers look like?

spot fake Instagram influencers

Let’s calculate the engagement rate.

For likes: (128k/1.5M)*100 = 8.5%

For comments: (2.5k/1.5M)*100 = 0.16%

Both the likes and comments percentage are above the industry average and the profile is Instagram verified. These are the numbers that help you pick your perfect influencer.

While you are calculating engagement, you can verify if the influencer has fake follower count or not. But, how do you verify if the influencer is buying likes and comments or not?

There are many Instagram pods and groups where people exchange comments to make their profiles look genuine.

If an influencer’s engagement looks suspicious to you, follow the below steps.

  1. Cross-check their other social media accounts.

If your influencer’s Instagram statistics don’t give you complete assurance, then look at their other social media accounts.

Analyze the Alexa rank of their websites, YouTube profile statistics, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest engagement rate.

Different social media sites have different engagement rate. If you find your influencer has a very low presence on other social media accounts with little or no engagement, you might want to reconsider and follow some other steps.

  1. Use reliable influencer tools.

This is one of the sure shot ways to determine real influencers from fake Instagram influencers.

In fact, most of the influencer tools thoroughly examine an influencer’s profile before they add them to their platform. So, if you’re serious about your influencer campaigns, I would say check out some influencer tools.

Here’s a screenshot from Heepsy, which is an Instagram influencer tool:

spot fake Instagram influencers

As they give you the followers’ growth for any Instagram influencer, this can be a clear sign to spot a fake Instagram influencer.

The influencer tools also clearly give you the influencer statistics and other social media performance. They could be a huge time-saver especially if you’re looking to hire more than 1 influencer.

What are the best influencer tools?

Here are a few influencer marketing tools to find your authentic influencers quickly and easily.

  1. Look at their brand collaborations.

If you look at the brand collaborations of your influencer, you can get an idea of their credibility.

There are free tools like that give you an idea on influencer’s collaborations.

spot fake Instagram influencers

You can look for influencers using and see how they are collaborating with other brands.

If you don’t want to use any tool, you can simply analyze the influencer’s profile and see if they have collaborated with any brand.

For further verification, you can also see the brand’s social media and website to see how they are using the influencer content.

Learn more about brands use influencer content here:

  1. Follow their accounts for a few days and analyze their post-performance.

If you’re looking to hire just a few influencers and you’re in no hurry, this is what you can do:

Follow the influencers you’re interested in and see how their post receives engagement.

It’s important to notice here if there’s any sudden escalation in likes or comments.

If the influencer posts and stories perform well and like you expected, they have earned your trust then.

  1. Use social analytics tools to analyze their social growth.

If you’re more comfortable with social tools than influencer tools to determine influencer’s authenticity, then try this.

Check out some of the social tools below that help you in determining influencer performance. Analyzing their social media statistics can give you their growth and engagement metrics.

Ink361 to get Instagram Insights.

Sociograph to analyze any Facebook Page or group.

Likealyzer to analyze Facebook pages.

SimilarWeb to track website statistics.

However, I would still recommend going for influencer tools over social media tools because that will give you better output with lesser time and money investment.

  1. Ask them to share their account analytics.

This is a must do before you collaborate with any influencer. Ask them to share their Instagram insights with you and analyze them thoroughly.

If the insights show similar audience and engagement distribution like the tools above, you are doing right. And, it’s safe to hire your influencer.

Wrapping up the Search of Fake Instagram Influencer:

I hope you find the steps listed above easy and practical to find your right Instagram influencer. Do not hurry while you’re looking for collaboration. And, set aside a budget before you go invest in influencer marketing.

Start with a few selected influencers, and if they perform well, escalate your influencer marketing attempts.

With this, I would leave you to your strategic marketing attempts. Let me know in the comments if you have anything related to influencer marketing to discuss or ask.

Don’t forget to check out eSocMedia marketplace to find the best influencer marketing and social media marketing tools!

Harshita Agrawal

I started as a Freelancer with small projects only to learn that I was capable of so much more. I underestimated myself for long till my clients enjoyed my work as much as I did. Now, I want to share some of the proven tips & tricks of the online marketing world that helped me grow. I hope they help you too.

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2 Responses

  1. Helpwithmath says:

    Thanks a lot! God bless you and all yourshelpwithmath

  2. Tin says:

    There’s a tool like Influencer Auditor of Phlanx that audits the Instagram followers of an influencer to be able to see if it’s fake or not.

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