Under the Influence is a bi-weekly news recap, sharing recommended reading about influencer marketing. 

Fake followers are the top concern in influencer marketing. According to a new Econsultancy report, 42% of marketers said their biggest concern, when it comes to influencers, is fake followers.

The platforms are trying to address this issue: Instagram has started removing fake likes, comments and follows. In its fight to reduce inauthentic activity, Instagram will cut out engagements from any accounts using third-party apps to boost their popularity.

Instagram’s move follows Twitter’s suspension of 70 million accountsTwitter co-founder Ev Williams says that, in retrospect, showing how many followers you have wasn’t ‘healthy. “It really put in your face that the game was popularity”, said Williams.

And unfortunately, there’s more to gaming influence than the issue of fake followers.

Influencers boost their popularity in many ways. While everybody talks about buying engagements, the issue of Influencer Pods is left unspoken. Influencer pods are communities where people build their audience and engagements together, Like for Like, Follow for Follow, leaving bots in their wake.

So how can real influence be accurately measured with all of these shenanigans going on behind the scenes?

As a rule of thumb, you can expect 10% engagement from a micro-influencer out of their total fans. “The normal reach is 10 percent of followers. So if an influencer has 100 likes and comments, with 40,000 followers – that’s a clear sign of disengagement.”

With the appropriate tools, spotting fake influencers is easy. But even if you’re not using a specialized tool, here are Five Red Flags to identify them in the meantime:

  • An unusual spike in followers
  • Abnormal engagement rates
  • Too much sponsored content
  • Rogue or controversial views
  • The absence of a media kit

And one final tip: there’s a simple process to avoid working with influencers with bot followers.

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