Posted | June 20th, 2018

Spot and ditch those fake followers on Instagram

Spot and ditch those fake followers on Instagram

Bot accounts cannot be influenced and fake engagement cannot be monetised, so walk away now. Don’t waste your precious time or limited money on followers that don’t exist.

More and more brands are becoming fed up with influencers that are purchasing fake followers, including transnational consumer goods giant, Unilever. Chief marketing officer, Keith Weed has voiced their frustration with fake followers, and in fact, declared that Unilever’s own brands would never buy followers.

Unilever is looking for a transparent future when it comes to influencer marketing and despite their frustration, they will continue to partner with influencers.

As an influencer marketing agency, we are familiar with fake followers and feel this is damaging the industry for both brands and consumers. Gone are the days when brands would collaborate with influencers because their profile ‘aligns’ with the brand or purely because they have a high number of followers. It’s all about quality and micro-influencers are proving to be engaging and providing a high return on investment for brands.


We’ve put together a few, quick top tips for spotting those fake followers.

  1. Check followers against likes

If you can see thousands of followers but not many likes per post, that’s not a good sign. Similarly, if you find thousands of likes on a post from yesterday, but only 50-60 on their posts from a month or so, you can probably conclude that they’ve been bought by a dodgy site selling fake engagements.

Instagram Likes

To figure out the engagement rate:

Comments + likes ÷ the number of followers.

Median reported in 2018 that the average engagement for a photo post is 2.7%. For a carousel post, it’s 1.9% and for a video, 1.7% (source: Iconosquare)

  1. View the comments

This is a great way to determine the quality of engagement, although it can be a little time consuming as it’s a manual process. Bots and fake engagement tend to be generic statements like emojis or comments such as – ‘cool pic’, ‘great profile’ and ‘love it’.

Real, loyal followers will take the time to make a comment related to the image an influencer has posted. These are the types of followers who might be a customer.

Instagram Comments

  1. Check the quality of their followers and likes

If you scroll through their followers, you will be able to view usernames and whether profiles have display pictures. Fake profiles tend to have automatically generated usernames using a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols and will not have a display picture. If the majority of the followers appear to have profiles like this, then I’m sorry to say but they are fake.

  1. Steady follower growth

Have you spotted a significant growth (we’re talking thousands) in followers over one day? That definitely is not real. Of course, it is possible to gain a lot of followers organically, however, this is hard work, especially since the change to the Instagram algorithm. Remember it is not all about numbers: 1000 engaged followers are more valuable than 100,000 bot accounts.

  1. Do they have any content?

Few or no posts is a red flag for a fraudulent profile. Fake profiles are set up to follow other people, therefore, you will find accounts with little followers, following a lot of people with no profile picture and no posts.


Not everyone is fake, and Instagram is a very successful platform for influencer marketing as we found in our recent case study launching mobile game; Football Clash: All Stars.

Are you looking to collaborate social influencers with your brand? Let Kairos Media, global influencer marketing agency assist. We have bespoke tools and insights into the industry, delivering many successful campaigns across different sectors.

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